Coal baron Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) recently appeared as a key speaker at a secretive, invite-only coal leadership forum — and shortly after attending, he made massive cuts to the climate portion of the Build Back Better Act.
The Coal and Investment Leadership Forum, uncovered by DocumentedIt was held September 19-21, and included at least 21 coal industry chief executives. The invitation touted Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) as “headliners” for the event, along with what appears to be an all-white, all-male list of hosts from various fossil fuel companies. The event tickets cost $7,000 per head, and do not include lodging at the Virginia resort.
In a promotional video for the event, the CEO of Olde Farm, where the event was held, emphasized Manchin and Capito’s participation in the forum. “You’d be hard pressed to really find two more influential people in politics in the United States right now,” he said. The event was promoted as “a private, invitation-only conference focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing coal and energy around the globe today.”
Other keynote speakers at the weekend included Joe Craft, Alliance Resource Partners’ coal CEO. infamous climate denier Chris HornerHe is closely connected to the Koch family-funded Heartland Institute. He is often cited in far right documentaries and books for his supposed expertise of a climate denier. Horner has called people who want to address the climate crisis “authoritarians,” and expressed sympathy for those who participated in the January 6 attack on the Capitol this year.
According to the participant list other attendees included Douglas Pierson, Credit Suisse Investment Banker, Matthew Giugliano, UBS Private Wealth Management Senior Vice- President Matthew Giugliano and Andrew Frame, managing Director of Evercore Investment Banking Company. As Documented points out, Frame’s company is currently working for coal giant Murray Energy as it goes through bankruptcy.
Manchin’s attendance at this event only further confirms the senator’s deep ties to the coal industry. Manchin was a senator in the 1980s. launched two coal firms of his own, which have made him over $4.5 million in the 11 years he’s been in the Senate, on top of his $174,000 Senate salary. The coal baron and climate denier still holds stock options in Enersystems, Inc., which are valued between $1 million and $5 million; he’s also made claims that fossil fuels must remain a part of the energy mix to address the climate crisis.
Coal, naturally, is the most important. most carbon-intensive fossil fuel in use — and on top of Manchin’s own personal wealth being staked in the success of the coal industry, he also enjoys a cozy relationship with fossil fuel lobbyists. Exxon lobbyist bragged about his weekly conversations with Manchin’s office as he was negotiating the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Manchin led the bipartisan group that included senators. Eventually, they were carvingClimate almost entirely out of the bill
Manchin began to remove climate proposals from the reconciliation bill just weeks after the October forum. Manchin is the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is responsible for the climate section of the bill. This is a clear conflict of interest.
Last month, the lawmaker EliminatedThe bill also includes the Clean Energy Payment Program, which was intended to significantly reduce carbon emissions. Analyses have shown that without the Clean Energy Payment program20 to 35 per cent of the emission reductions desired will be completely eliminated.
Manchin has slashed the reconciliation plan by hacking the price tag on social and climate proposals in half, he complained on Monday that his fellow lawmakers aren’t compromising enough. Manchin originally wanted $1.5 trillion, but he has now had to give up $250 Billion, while progressives had to negotiate trillions off their original proposals.