Manchin Seeks to Gut Key Climate Provision From Infrastructure Bill as West Virginia Suffers Worsening Floods

Joe Manchin walks away from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC after a vote.

Climate change is driving increasing flooding in West Virginia, overwhelming aging infrastructure and dumping raw sewage into waterways, The New York Times reports, and West Virginians will suffer disproportionately as climate change continues to worsen.

Meanwhile, their Senator, Democrat Joe Manchin has told the White House he strongly opposes a key, though relatively inexpensive, provision of the Build Back Better Act, according to reports from numerous outlets. The Clean Energy Performance Program, to which Manchin objects, incentivizes utilities to increase the amount of clean energy they supply to their customers.

Manchin’s opposition puts the inclusion of the CEPP in the final legislation into serious jeopardy, and the reports were met with harsh condemnation from climate advocates.

“This is absolutely the most important climate policy in the package,” climate and energy policy expert Leah Stokes told The New York Times. “We fundamentally need it to meet our climate goals. That’s just the reality. And now we can’t. So this is pretty sad.”

Manchin has expressed concern about the overall cost of the bill, which is paid for by closing tax loopholes and increasing rates on wealthy individuals and corporations, but the CEPP costs just $150 billion out of the initial $3.5 trillion proposal. Manchin, who once shot a bullet through climate legislation in a TV ad, pulled down more than $400,000 of his $1.6 million Q3 fundraising haul from the oil and gas industry.

For a deeper dive:

WV Flooding: The New York Times; Manchin CEPP Opposition: The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Gizmodo, NPR, Reuters; Response: The Hill; Legislative prospects: The Washington Post, E&E News, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Axios, CBS, The Hill; Manchin fundraising: Bloomberg; Climate Signals background: Flooding, Extreme precipitation increase

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