Overnight Energy & Environment

Energy & Environment — Senate rejects Manchin permitting amendment

Joe Manchin
AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) speaks during a news conference on Sept. 20, 2022, at the Capitol in Washington.

The Senate has spurned Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in his latest attempt to reform the energy approval process. Meanwhile, Western states are taking water-saving measures amid a continuing drought.  

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Permitting reform won’t be in defense spending bill 

The Senate has bucked Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) latest effort to get his energy deal with Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) attached to must-pass legislation. 

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

Schumer had promised Manchin he would take up legislation to speed the process for approving new U.S. energy projects in exchange for Manchin’s vote on the Democrats’ major climate, health and tax bill. 

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

  • The measure was widely expected to fail on Thursday, but the vote provides Manchin a headcount as he is expected to continue pushing for a compromise deal. 
  • The legislation faced opposition from the left, over concerns about potential hampering of community involvement in environmental reviews and fossil fuels generally. Meanwhile, Republican opponents argued that it did not go far enough.  
  • A handful of Democrats voted against the measure, while a handful of Republicans voted for it.  

Read more about the vote here.  

Four Western states launch water cutback program

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

The plan, unveiled by representatives of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming Wednesday, would subsidize users of river water to voluntarily cut back on 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 set to begin next April, with $125 million in funds provided by the Inflation Reduction Act.  
  • The voluntary program announced does not include a specific target. 

The background: The announcement comes as the western U.S. has struggled with the impact of the 20-year drought on the Colorado River.

Use of the river’s waters is governed by a century-old interstate agreement that allocates more water than currently flows through it. Shortages in the river basin have led to dramatically receding water levels in two of the nation’s biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, threatening the hydroelectricity they generate. 

Read more about the announcement here.  


Authorities have declared a Regional Drought Emergency for residents in the Southern California area as they prepare for a fourth consecutive drought season.

In a news release on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Water District’s (MWD) board of directors urged residents to cut back on water use and called for water agencies to immediately reduce their use of all imported water supplies due to the ongoing drought crisis.  

About half of the district’s water is imported from the northern Sierra via the State Water Project and from the Colorado River. According to the news release, some communities rely mostly on imported water while others have little use for it. 

The MWD’s 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 by next April it will consider allocating supplies to all its
26 member agencies by requiring them to cut their use of imported water or face additional fees on purchased water from the department, according to the news release. 

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


  • Whales can have an important but overlooked role in tackling the climate crisis, researchers say (CNN
  • Feds announce nearly $40M for dam removal, other projects to help salmon in WA (The Seattle Times
  • China Dominates the Rare Earths Market. This U.S. Mine Is Trying to Change That. (Politico Magazine
  • Keystone Pipeline ran at heightened pressure before Kansas oil spill, cause still unknown (The Kansas City Star
  • FERC climate reviews in limbo as Glick departs (E&E News

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

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.  

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