Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Coal-Friendly Manchin Named Top Dem on Senate Energy Panel

Politics
Coal-Friendly Manchin Named Top Dem on Senate Energy Panel
Sen. Joe Manchin and United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts held a press conference on Oct. 3, 2017. Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

After weeks of discord over the potential appointment, Sen. Joe Manchin, the pro-coal Democrat of West Virginia, was named the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday.

Many Democrats and environmental groups were adamantly opposed to Manchin serving as the top Democrat on the committee that oversees policies on climate change, public lands and fossil fuel production.


Following the nod, Manchin said in an online statement he will work with "both sides of the aisle to find common sense solutions for long-term comprehensive energy policy that incorporates an all-of-the-above strategy and ensures our state and our nation are leaders in the energy future."

Manchin is a rare Democratic lawmaker in deep-red West Virginia, but he has consistently supported the state's coal miners. West Virginia is the nation's second-leading producer of coal. He slammed President Obama's "war on coal" and supported President Trump's controversial decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement. The League of Conservation Voters gave him a paltry lifetime score of 45 percent for his environmental voting record.

"Appointing Senator Manchin as ranking member of the Energy Committee is completely at odds with any plan for real climate action," 350.org executive director May Boeve said in a provided statement. "Manchin has taken every opportunity to put Big Oil before the health and safety of communities and our climate."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is a champion of strong climate action and is a potential 2020 presidential candidate, tweeted last week: "Our party must be wholly committed to ending America's dependence on fossil fuels. Manchin literally shot climate legislation in one of his campaign ads."

In a 2010 television commercial, Manchin bragged about suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and shot a copy of the Democrats' cap-and-trade bill.

Dead Aim - Joe Manchin for West Virginia TV Ad www.youtube.com

David Turnbull, the strategic communications director with Oil Change USA, said in an online statement that Manchin has "enjoyed nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from oil, gas and coal interests in his career."

"If Senator Manchin wants to be taken seriously as someone serious about taking the critical step to move our economy off of fossil fuels, and not someone beholden to the fossil fuel industry, he should take the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, today," Turnbull added. "It only makes sense that he promise to reject money from the industry being regulated by the committee he'll lead for the Democrats. Until he does, we'll know who he truly answers to."

Tuesday's appointment was not a total surprise. The former West Virginia governor has been a member of the committee since he was elected to the Senate in 2010. He is also the ranking chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy.

Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive upstart of New York who is leading efforts of the Green New Deal, expressed concerns about Manchin taking the position.

"I have concerns over the senator's chairmanship just because I do not believe that we should be financed by the industries that we are supposed to be legislating and regulating and touching with our legislation," Ocasio-Cortez said at press conference held outside the Capitol last month, according to The Intercept.

But last week, Manchin surprisingly voted against Bernard McNamee, a fossil fuel lawyer that President Trump named to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Senator withdrew his support due to his concerns about McNamee's stance on climate change. McNamee was ultimately confirmed in a straight party-line vote.

"Climate change is real, humans have made a significant impact, and we have the responsibility and capability to address it urgently," Manchin said in a statement posted on The Hill after changing his mind about McNamee.

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch