Manchin has served our state well. He is a caring and determined leader whom we came to know as a colleague and friend of our father. Unfortunately, when it comes to the future of our state (be it the jobs of West Virginians or the energy they consume), Manchin is clinging to a troubled past by defying the Senate’s $ 3.5 trillion Atonement Act. Only by supporting this law can Manchin West Virginia boldly lead West Virginia into a clean energy future that will help the people for whom it was chosen.
Nor did he acknowledge that the bill can be funded in large part by reversing the 2017 corporate tax cuts, the Senator himself chosen
on the other hand – but now refuses to increase the rate required in the draft law and instead opts for a middle ground. By holding up the reconciliation bill, the senator is putting money at risk necessary
to improve West Virginia’s economic prospects and resilience at a time when the state is grappling with the lowest life expectancy in the country and one of its highest poverty rates.
The challenges West Virginia faces are compounded by climate change and extreme weather events
that are already happening with alarming frequency. West Virginians will remember the June 2016 flood that killed
23 people and damaged more than a thousand homes and businesses. As West Virginia is becoming milder and more humid as a result of climate change, increase
rain would be dangerous given the state’s vulnerability to flash food.
We need a more resilient infrastructure to withstand increasing rainfall. In New Orleans, the levees were raised after Hurricane Katrina. upgraded stood up
to Hurricane Ida. In other areas, Ida could become one most expensive
weather-related disaster in US history underscored the need for further improvement. Since 1980, the US has suffered nearly 300 weather and climate disasters, calculation
almost $ 2 trillion. These numbers will rise if there is no concerted effort to contain the climate crisis.
But Senator Manchin suggests
to pause the Reconciliation Act, which would threaten the Infrastructure Act and endanger the Senator’s own goals outlined
in its pending bill, the American Jobs in Energy Manufacturing Act of 2021.
The climate crisis is already here and is worsening. Why wait for it to get worse? The costs of recovering from extreme weather events are also likely to rise dramatically. Investing in more resilient infrastructure now will ultimately be safer (and cheaper
) than waiting for reconstruction after every disaster. Senator Manchin should lead the indictment to action, not undermine it.
West Virginia needs the Law of Atonement. As the US coal consumption continues Reject
, has the fossil fuel economy of West Virginia sustained a hit
. Companies are already making adjustments. The states two largest utility companies
, American Electric Power (AEP) and FirstEnergy Corp to reduce
their carbon emissions by 2050. Employers like Walmart
have also set prudent emission reduction targets. Our elected leaders at local, state, and national levels must keep pace with the private sector
and support funding for infrastructures that complement, rather than hinder, this progress.
To ensure that West Virginia’s economy and communities survive the energy transition, we must pass both the bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Reconciliation Act. Taking into account key provisions of Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at WVU Law School modeled
a “Clean Innovation Pathway” that would allow West Virginia to rely largely on zero-emission electricity.
By 2040, it would cut electricity bills by $ 855 million, increase full-time employment, and secure billions in investments in clean energy projects. By building resilient infrastructure and reducing carbon pollution, the two bills would work together to strengthen national security against destabilizing disasters while providing economic opportunities by expanding jobs and sustainable industries across the country.
We must move away from a fossil fuel economy that is fueling climate chaos and increasing systemic threats to Americans’ economic and physical security. In order to lead the state into a better future, Manchin should recognize the inevitable changes around us and act accordingly.
In 2009, the late Senator Robert Byrd called
: “West Virginians can choose to anticipate and adapt to change, or to fight back and be overwhelmed by it.” In the later years of his life, Byrd went through a remarkable development, publicly apologizing for his involvement in the Ku Klux Klan and changing his stance on climate change. We hope that Manchin will follow Byrd’s role model in terms of climate, evolving over time.
Likewise, our family, known to many for their oil heritage, recognized and acted on
the undeniable science that documents the destructive impact of fossil fuels on our climate. We consider it our moral obligation to part with fossil fuels and invest sustainably. Many Rockefeller affiliated nonprofits are too Putt
their foundations, which stem from oil wealth, towards a clean and inclusive economy development
. The West Virginians should share in the prosperity and promise that the renewable energy boom will bring with it. Federal support through the reconciliation and infrastructure laws will be crucial in making this possible.
Senator Manchin should also acknowledge this. By supporting the Reconciliation Act, he can help develop economic opportunities, a more resilient infrastructure and a more sustainable future for our state and our country.