I don’t know Sen. Joe Manchin, but he strikes me as a stand-up senator who is just looking out for a major constituency in his state of West Virginia, the coal miners and their families who probably voted for him. Makes sense, I guess.
But is Sen. Manchin not seeing the havoc and suffering climate change is causing in large parts of our county. Is he not seeing the fires and floods this year that have destroyed an area the size of New Jersey? That have destroyed the homes of hundreds of thousands of Americans nationwide, including in West Virginia?
Is he not aware that ironically no state in the contiguous United States is more exposed to flood damage than West Virginia? Does he not realize over 60 percent of West Virginia’s power stations are said to be at risk of flooding, the highest nationwide? How West Virginia has the most roads at risk of inundation?
Does Manchin not see the White House and Congressional staffers scrambling to rewrite legislation without that climate provision so offensive to him?
Fearing it would hurt his deep-seated feelings for coal, perhaps even deeper, his bank account, coal will soon be off the table and blameless for polluting our air.
This should appease the senator who founded a family coal brokerage that reportedly paid him a half a million dollars in dividends last year. So now democrats are trying to cobble together other ways to try to cut emissions.
The move comes less than two weeks before President Biden leaves for a major climate change conference, where he is supposed to report what the world’s largest economy is doing to cut its pollution-causing greenhouse emissions.
Yet, without the clean electricity program, it will be next to impossible to show any leadership in curbing damage from fossil fuels, probably the worst of which is coal, now endangering the planet and humanity globally.
So now the conflict between coal and clean energy reaches a perplexing impasse.
While Manchin has expressed concern that the clean electricity program could harm the economy of West Virginia, why has he said so little about the economic toll being felt across America from inaction on climate change?
Greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are warming the air, allowing it to hold more moisture, in turn causing more frequent and intense rainfall, flooding, shoreline erosion and scary high tides in vulnerable areas.
Still, dividends are a solid return, thank you, especially at a time when equities are rising in value, and interest rates stay relatively low. So, could Joe just be a better investor than a senator? I hope not!
But I still think he’s just catering to his West Virginia base, while I wish he’d think more of the whole of America for are we not all in this together?
Besides an inveterate blogger, Tom Madden is an author of countless published articles and five books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, available this December on Amazon. He is the founder and CEO of TransMedia Group, an award-winning public relations firm serving clients worldwide since 1981.