By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced last week that he was backing a climate spending package sought for months by Democrats, he noted that Democratic leadership had agreed to advance pipeline permitting reform.
Now Manchin’s office has confirmed what many had already suspected — that the Mountain Valley Pipeline was part of the deal.
Manchin’s office announced late Monday afternoon that completion of the 303-mile pipeline spanning 11 counties in West Virginia from the northwestern part of the state to Virginia is part of a permitting package that he said party leaders had committed to passing by the end of September.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline has been delayed for years by legal and regulatory challenges driving up project costs and fueling doubts that it will ever be completed…