Sen. Joe Manchin Vows ‘unrelenting fight’ Against US Climate Law(s)

by admin on August 17, 2023

Sink or Swim: World War Zero ~ Manchin cannot comprehend the climate crisis

WV Senator Manchin calls his Inflation Reduction Act, hailed as ‘biggest step on climate crisis’, a ‘radical agenda’

From an Article by Richard Luscombe and Martin Pengelly, The Guardian UK, August 16, 2023

The Democratic West Virginia senator Joe Manchin marked the first anniversary of a major US climate crisis law he helped pass by saying he would mount an “unrelenting fight against the Biden administration’s efforts to implement the IRA as a radical climate agenda”.

In response, one advocate for climate action accused Manchin, who she called an “oily senator”, of “talk[ing] out of whichever side of his mouth will please the polluting fossil fuel industry”.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law on 16 August 2022. It addressed other domestic spending priorities too but Joe Biden called it “the biggest step forward on climate ever”, saying it would “allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of my climate goals”.

On Wednesday, Biden marked its anniversary with official remarks. In a closely divided Senate, Manchin’s vote was vital to pass the IRA. But since the deal was done, he has increasingly used the law to score political points.

Manchin (75-years-old) represents a state dominated by coal mining interests and has extensive fossil fuel investments of his own, a fact often highlighted by conservation groups.

In a statement on Wednesday, Manchin said the IRA was “one of the most historic pieces of legislation passed in decades … re-establish[ing] an all-of-the-above energy policy and empowered the growth of fossil fuels and renewables. “If implemented as designed, the IRA will ensure that all Americans have more reliable and more affordable power for years to come.”

But he added: “Going forward I will push back on those who seek to undermine this significant legislation for their respective political agenda and that begins with my unrelenting fight against the Biden administration’s efforts to implement the IRA as a radical climate agenda instead of implementing the IRA that was passed into law.”

Environmental groups condemned Manchin’s statement.

“Senator Manchin talks out of whichever side of his mouth will please the polluting fossil fuel industry,” said Jean Su, energy justice director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Playing politics distracts from the lifesaving action we urgently need to supplement the IRA’s renewable energy investments by phasing out deadly fossil fuels. We’ve just seen the deadliest US wildfire in over a century in Maui and another scorching heatwave looms over most of the country.

“President Biden needs to be laser-focused on ending the fossil fuels driving the climate emergency, not one oily senator’s pathetic plea for attention.”

Aru Shiney-Ajay, strategic director for the Sunrise Movement, also referred to the deadly fire in Hawaii. “Only a coal baron could see what’s happening in Maui right now and say there’s a ‘radical climate agenda’ afoot,” she said.

Earthjustice also urged Biden to ignore Manchin’s threats. “As we continue to see the horrific impacts of climate change, from extreme heat to deadly flooding and wildfires, we can’t afford inaction,” said the organization’s president, Abigail Dillen.

“Our children and grandchildren are relying on us to meet this moment, and the IRA was a critical step in the right direction.

“We’re closer than ever to meeting our climate goals and transitioning our economy to clean energy … [but] the legislation also contained many harmful provisions impacting communities already facing the disparate impacts of pollution.

“We look forward to working with the Biden administration on ensuring [IRA investments] are distributed to the communities that need them in the most equitable and just way possible.”

Manchin has suggested he might soon quit the Democratic party, whether to run for re-election or for president as an independent. Consequently, his relationship with Biden has come under intense scrutiny. He was due to skip the IRA anniversary event on Wednesday.

Manchin is the only Democrat in statewide elected office in West Virginia. In polling, he trails the likely Republican candidate for Senate next year: the current governor, Jim Justice, himself a former Democrat.

Some observers think that makes a Manchin presidential run more likely. Such a candidacy could be supported by No Labels, a group seeking to mount a third-party campaign against Biden and his presumed opponent, Donald Trump, who have historically low ratings with the voting public.

Critics say No Labels will split the anti-Trump vote, handing the 91-times indicted former president a path back to the White House and some form of legal impunity.

On Wednesday, Manchin said the US “needs leadership and my hope is that elected leaders in both parties and in the White House put down their political swords [and] stop playing to the ideological extremes”.

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