Markey opposes Manchin push to include permitting reform in stopgap funding bill

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is joining a group of liberal House members in opposing Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) push to pass changes to the environmental review process in a

stopgap funding bill. Markey became the second Democratic-caucusing senator to call for the issues to be separated. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has previously expressed

opposition to the West Virginia senator’s reforms.  Democratic leadership promised Manchin they would pass changes to the country’s permitting system to expedite the

approval of both fossil and renewable energy projects in exchange for his vote on their climate, tax and health care bill.  Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer

(D-N.Y.) has said he would include such changes in a temporary funding measure that would prevent a government shutdown. But Markey said in a written statement on Friday

that the two should not be tied, citing concerns about possible impacts on communities that are already overburdened by pollution.  “As a way forward is discussed, and

especially as new anti-environment proposals are being brought to the permitting discussions, we should not attach the permitting overhaul package to the must-pass government

funding legislation,” Markey said in a statement on Friday.  However, Markey also acknowledged the importance of the deal with Manchin and said he would speak with

colleagues about “whether this package can reflect the values of environmental justice.” Any funding measure, with or without permitting reforms, would require 60 votes

to pass the Senate. If both Markey and Sanders are not on board, at least 12 Republicans will have to vote with the rest of the Democrats to get it across the finish line.