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Joe Manchin bill looks to enforce federal ability to override states on transmission projects.

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Christopher Neely's picture
Independent Local News Organization

Journalist for nearly a decade with keen interest in local energy policies for cities and national efforts to facilitate a renewable revolution. 

  • Member since 2017
  • 737 items added with 363,588 views
  • Sep 28, 2022
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West Virginia Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, has, as of late, been cast as a villain in the story of President Joe Biden's climate goals, questionably stalling bills in the name of bipartisanship and trying to balance the interests of the nation and his coal-dependent home state. In a split senate, Manchin, a swing vote, has held much power. 

His recent leanings toward conservatism makes it surprising to read about a new bill he has authored and proposed, which would embolden the federal government to override state commissions on the issue of high-voltage transmission projects. Upgraded transmission lines, the unsexy necessity of the renewable energy revolution, has become among the more politically tense issues of said revolution, as it requires easements on private land in conservative states. In a country where property ownership is a tenet of success, the need to use private property to further national interests has become a central obstacle. 

Manchin's bill would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission override a state commission's no vote on a transmission permit if the project meets any in a set of vague thresholds: if the project would serve an area that is experiencing energy capacity constraints; enhance the energy independence or energy security of the U.S.; lands in the interest of national energy policy; enhance national defense, and a few others. 

If this bill passes, this would be a gift to renewable energy advocates who have lobbied for this kind of federal override power for years. 

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