Opinion | Why we need to strengthen — not weaken — our regulatory system

Regarding Dana Milbank’s Sept. 21 Wednesday Opinion column, “A policy win or vengeance? The GOP opts for the latter.”:

As a chemical engineer, I cannot fathom the language in Sen. Joe Manchin III’s (DW.Va.) permitting bill regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which defies scientific reality by stating the MVP would “reduce carbon emissions” and “facilitate an orderly transition of the energy industry to cleaner fuels.”

The “carbon” mentioned in the bill refers only to carbon dioxide to pretend MVP’s fracked gas is a “cleaner” fuel because methane, not carbon dioxide, would be the primary emission. However, carbon dioxide, whose chemical formula is CO2, has something in common with methane, whose chemical formula is CH4: They share that C, which is carbon. Using “carbon” to refer only to carbon dioxide deflects from other carbon-containing emissions, including the MVP’s methane harmful. Even worse, methane traps heat in the atmosphere 25 times more than carbon dioxide, making it worse for the climate.

In reality, the MVP would release carbon emissions equivalent to more than 20 coal plants (not quite the reduction in carbon emissions and transition to clean fuels the bill wants us to believe). As for the rest of the bill: The MVP — which has accrued hundreds of violations and lost multiple permits and is overwhelmingly opposed by the communities on which the project is being forced — is the poster child for the need to strengthen our regulatory system, not weaken it, as Mr. Manchin’s bill intends.

I hope legislators and President Biden see through the bill and reject it.

Stacy Lovelace, Bedford, Va.

The writer is a co-founder of Virginia Pipeline Resisters.

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