CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Organizations in West Virginia are expressing varying degrees of support as Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) announced that he would not support a federal economic package that raises taxes and includes climate provisions.
The West Virginia Climate Alliance and the West Virginia Coal Association both released statements, which show the polarized opinions on climate legislation in the state.
The Coal Association commended Manchin’s decision, saying that expanding renewable energy or even the possibility of phasing out fossil energy would “quickly obliterate our state’s coal industry and thousands of West Virginians who depend on the revenues from these jobs in West Virginia.”
The association said it was not surprised by Sen. Manchin’s support of West Virginia’s 318,000 coal jobs. “We have the utmost respect and appreciation for Senator Manchin’s keen insight into energy matters and all he has done to keep West Virginia coal healthy and a part of our nation’s energy mix.” According to the West Virginia Coal Association, warning of possible blackouts and brownouts across the country are the result of removing coal-fired plants in America.
On the other hand, the West Virginia Climate Alliance is planning to rally at Sen. Manchin’s office on Monday to show their disapproval of his opinion. The alliance said that Sen. Manchin is delaying legislation that will pay for “desperately needed project to help our climate and our workers.”
The Climate Alliance, which also requested an in-person meeting with Sen. Manchin, sent a letter to Manchin, which can be read here. “Every day that we delay taking action on the climate crisis makes our weather more extreme and the implementation of solutions even more challenging,” said founder Perry Bryant.
The letter also mentioned the recent flooding in McDowell County, West Virginia, where 100 homes were damaged, attributing it and other recent natural disasters to climate change. “Folks in Appalachia are among the hardest hit by the effects of climate change… Senator Manchin has the opportunity to facilitate meaningful change for his constituents and, yet, is choosing to walk away from legislation that could help alleviate this suffering.”
To listen to Sen. Manchin discuss inflation, energy and climate priorities, click here.