Joe Manchin Turns His Back on West Virginians

Democratic Senator Sinks Federal Investment Plan to Fight Inflation Through Lower Energy Prices and More Jobs. CCAN Action Fund Joins Allies Demanding that Senate Leaders Strip Manchin of Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairmanship

WEST VIRGINIA — Senator Manchin last week announced he will oppose all investments in clean energy and attempts to make wealthy Americans pay their fair share in taxes as part of a Senate budget reconciliation package this summer. This decision destroys efforts to bring new clean energy careers to West Virginia and jeopardizes investments that would fund the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. 

Senator Manchin spent months engaging in evidently bad faith negotiations around clean energy and tax provisions. During those negotiations, Democratic leadership offered generous compromises. However, in the end Senator Manchin flipped abruptly and announced opposition to the agreement. 

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network now joins other groups in demanding that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer strip Manchin of his chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 

Senator Manchin seemed unconcerned about how the people in his home state would feel about his political decision to stop billions of dollars of investments into West Virginia. In a radio interview on July 15, Senator Manchin repeatedly stressed that he was making this decision for “our country” and “America,” but never once did he mention West Virginia. 

“It seems like Senator Manchin is enjoying national attention so much he has forgotten about West Virginia,” said Holly Bradley, an organizer with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “I don’t know why he would block investments that were going to help West Virginians, then go on the radio to brag about how he did it to help the rest of the country. He has refused to listen to the people of his state, even those in the United Mine Workers of America who he proclaims to care most about.” added Bradley.

Said West Virginia veteran and Common Defense climate justice organizer Lakiesha Lloyd: “This latest news demonstrates how radically out of touch Senator Manchin is with reality, especially the reality of his own constituents. West Virginia has one of the highest veteran poverty rates in the country, and this legislation would have provided the investment necessary to finally open opportunities for West Virginia veterans to have good jobs that support their families and their community and don’t harm their health. Failing to pass this legislation now leaves Americans–especially low-income communities and communities of color–to suffer from floods and other disasters caused by climate change.  Just this week, the Governor declared a state of emergency after a flash flood in McDowell County, and incidents like these will only become more prevalent thanks to Manchin’s failure.”

Senator Manchin attributes his opposition to concerns about inflation, saying that increases in the cost of living convinced him that he cannot support taxes on the rich and investments in clean energy this summer. However, pulling dollars out of the economy through new taxes reduces inflation, and the primary driver of inflation is higher fossil fuel prices, which the energy investments would have alleviated. 


The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.


Further reading:

Congress: Pass Anti-Inflation Climate Reconciliation Package with Justice Investments