Progressives Push Back Against Plan to Fast-Track Energy Projects

House progressives are pushing back against a proposed plan by the Senate to fast-track energy projects in order to help pass an Inflation Reduction Act. Led by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), over 60 members of the House sent a letter to their leadership urging them not to attach this bill – which was promised by Sen. Joe Manchin – to must-pass legislation for funding the government past September 30th.

The proposed deal would allow the President to keep a rolling list of 25 high-priority energy projects – both fossil fuel and renewable – with expedited permitting processes in order to speed up the development of these projects. However, many progressives fear that this plan could lead to disproportionate impacts on Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities as they bear the brunt of potential environmental damage that could come from such developments.

The letter sent by House progressives states that they “are concerned about any attempt to use a fast-track process or similar tools for energy infrastructure projects if it does not adequately protect our environment, provide transparency, and ensure public health is a top priority” and goes on the urge their leadership “not include any measure allowing for fast-tracking energy infrastructure projects in must-pass legislation” until appropriate safeguards can be put into place and affected communities are consulted in advance.

Though Sen. Manchin’s proposal provides an opportunity for additional economic stimulus through job creation, House progressives remain concerned about the potential consequences of rushing these developments without due diligence being done first in order to prevent long-term damage caused by poor development decisions. As such, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle need to work together in order to come up with effective solutions that benefit everyone while also ensuring responsible development practices are undertaken before these projects move forward.