BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin visited the Mountain Valley Pipeline staging area near Bridgeport Saturday to speak on the project’s approval after the passing of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.

Approval for the pipeline was included in the debt ceiling package; Manchin said that if it wasn’t, the U.S. would have defaulted on its debt.

“I think we’ve done our job from the standpoint of being able to supply the country with a needed product, of the natural gas that we have that the good lord put under our feet,” Manchin said in an interview. “But you know, having it under our feet doesn’t help a lot of people unless you can move it somewhere. We’re able to move it now.”

The pipeline encountered multiple stumbling blocks during its construction, with the primary concern being its environmental impact. However, with the passing of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, those troubles appear to have been overcome.

Thomas Karam, CEO of Equitrans Midstream, which is one of the controlling corporations of the pipeline, said the pipeline has gone through “100 months of environmental scrutiny,” and believes the pipeline to be a “critical lynchpin” to energy and national security.

“The most environmentally friendly thing that could occur now is to allow us to complete the pipeline, and permanently restore the right-of-way so that the landowners who’ve we’ve disadvantaged for the past seven years can finally have full use of their property again,” Karam said.

Karam also said they hope to accomplish that by finishing the pipeline by the end of 2023.