Energy and environment: Senate rejects Manchin’s permit amendment

The Senate rejected Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) in his latest attempt to reform the energy approval process. Meanwhile, western states are taking steps to save water amid an ongoing drought.

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Permit reform will not be in defense spending bill

The Senate opposed the latest effort by Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) to have his energy deal with Majority Leader Charles Schumer (DN.Y.) attached to mandatory legislation.

The chamber blocked Manchin’s permit reform amendment from being included in a defense funding bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act in a 47-47 vote. Sixty votes were needed to advance the measure.

Schumer had promised Manchin he would pass legislation to speed up the approval process for new US energy projects in exchange for Manchin’s vote on the Democrats’ top tax, health and climate bill.

Manchin’s permit reform effort was expected to help advance fossil and renewable energy projects, though it has drawn pushback from both sides of the aisle.

  • The measure was widely expected to fail on Thursday, but the vote gives Manchin a recount as he is expected to continue to push for a compromise deal.
  • The legislation faced opposition from the left, over concerns about possible obstacles to community participation in environmental reviews and fossil fuels in general. Meanwhile, Republican opponents argued that he didn’t go far enough.
  • A handful of Democrats voted against the measure, while a handful of Republicans voted for it.

Read more about voting here.

Four western states launch water reduction program

Four states in the upper Colorado River Basin this week announced a program through the Upper Colorado River Basin Commission to temporarily conserve water from the over-leveraged river while the West weathers a historic drought.

The plan, introduced Wednesday by representatives from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, would subsidize users of the river’s water to voluntarily reduce their use.

The details:

  • The pilot program would pay participating users at least $150 per acre-foot of water conserved.
  • The System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) is tentatively scheduled to begin next April, with $125 million in funding provided by the Reduced Inflation Act.
  • The announced voluntary program does not include a specific goal.

The bottom: The announcement comes as the western US has battled the impact of a 20-year drought on the Colorado River.

The use of the river’s waters is governed by a centuries-old interstate agreement that allocates more water than currently flows through it. Shortages in the river basin have led to sharply declining water levels in two of the country’s largest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, threatening the hydroelectricity they generate.

Read more about the announcement here.


The authorities have declared a Regional Drought Emergency for residents of the Southern California area as they prepare for a fourth consecutive dry season.

In a press release Wednesday, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) board of directors urged residents to reduce water use and called on water agencies to immediately reduce use of all imported water supplies due to to the current drought crisis.

Approximately half of the district’s water is imported from the northern Sierra through the Colorado River and State Water Project. According to the press release, some communities rely mainly on imported water, while others use it little.

The MWD board of directors warned that the call for water saving measures could become mandatory if drought conditions in the area worsen in the coming months.

The board also said that by next April it will consider allocating supplies to all of its
26 member agencies by requiring them to reduce their use of imported water or face additional fees for water purchased from the department, according to the news release.

Read more here, from The Hill’s Olafimihan Oshin.


  • Whales may have an important but overlooked role in fighting the climate crisis, researchers say (CNN)
  • Feds announce nearly $40 million for dam removal, other projects to help salmon in WA (The Seattle Times)
  • China dominates the rare earth market. This US mine is trying to change that. (Political Magazine)
  • The Keystone pipeline operated at a higher pressure before the Kansas oil spill, the cause is still unknown (The Kansas City Star)
  • FERC weather reviews in limbo as Glick leaves (E&E News)

🤔 Lighter click: Giving “Trump card” a new meaning.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy and environment page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.

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