Tue 20 Jul 2021
photo above: Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, chairs a Senate energy and natural resources committee hearing. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP
WN: One word: greed . . .
As “thousand-year” heat waves caused by the climate crisis rock the west coast and biblical floods engulf major cities, Senate Democrats are negotiating a $3.5tn budget package that could include an attempt to slow the use of fossil fuels over the next decade.
One prominent senator is very concerned about proposals to scale back oil, gas and coal usage. He recently argued that those who want to “get rid of” fossil fuels are wrong. Eliminating fossil fuels won’t help fight global heating, he claimed, against all evidence. “If anything, it would be worse.”
Which rightwing Republican uttered these false, climate crisis-denying words?
Wrong question. The speaker was a Democrat: Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
West Virginia is a major coal-producing state. But Manchin’s investment in dirty energy goes far beyond the economic interests of the voters who elect him every six years. In fact, coal has made Manchin and his family very wealthy. He founded the private coal brokerage Enersystems in 1988 and still owns a big stake in the company, which his son currently runs.
In 2020 alone, Manchin raked in nearly $500,000 of income from Enersystems, and he owns as much as $5m worth of stock in the company, according to his most recent financial disclosure.
Despite this conflict of interest, Manchin chairs the influential Senate energy and natural resources committee, which has jurisdiction over coal production and distribution, coal research and development, and coal conversion, as well as “global climate change”.
He even gave a pro-coal speech in May to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) while personally profiting from Enersystems’ coal sales to utility companies that are EEI members, as Sludge recently reported.
Manchin is one of many members of Congress who are personally invested in the fossil fuel industry – dozens of Congress members hold Exxon stock – but he is among the biggest profiters. As of late 2019, he had more money invested in dirty energy than any other senator.
Please click on: Manchin’s Greed