(Bloomberg) -- Climate activists stormed the stage during remarks in Washington by Senator Joe Manchin, interrupting his comments about securing the contested Mountain Valley pipeline in the debt-ceiling deal. 

Manchin eventually retreated to a back room to finish his remarks at a permitting reform summit held by the digital media company Semafor in Washington after about two dozen protesters with the group Climate Defiance barged onto the stage. 

“Dirty deal. MVP. Manchin you are killing me!” they chanted as they took control of the stage. 

Read More: Senate Fails to Strip Manchin Pipeline Deal From Debt Bill

Language secured by Manchin in must-pass debt ceiling legislation signed into law June 3 by President Joe Biden included a measure expediting the 300-mile natural gas line project by Equitrans Midstream Corp. that had been beset by delays and cost overruns following challenges by environmental activists. 

The $6.6 billion project, which cuts through the Appalachian Mountains, a national forest and hundreds of stream crossings, has been vehemently opposed by progressives who say it will lock in fossil fuels and the global warming emissions they cause for decades to come.

Manchin, for his part, said he didn’t mind the disruption, adding, “What these people did today helps me tremendously in my state.”

Manchin has long advocated for the pipeline, arguing the project’s completion is needed to increase domestic energy production, lower energy costs and benefit the constituents of his home state. He’s joked the project’s initials stand for Most Valuable Pipeline.

--With assistance from Kellie Lunney.

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