Tell Sen. Schumer: Manchin must not be the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
It's a nightmare scenario for climate and energy policy: Sen. Joe Manchin – the coal-loving West Virginian who once used a rifle to shoot a climate change bill in a campaign ad – could soon be the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.1
Sen. Maria Cantwell, the current top Democrat on the committee, is reportedly considering leaving the post to serve as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committe.2 If she does, Manchin would be next in line to lead the committee based on seniority.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has the power to stop this and ensure that Democrats' work on the Energy Committee is led by someone who supports bold action to fight climate change instead of a coal industry cheerleader like Joe Manchin. But we know from years of experience that Schumer can't be trusted to do the right thing without overwhelming grassroots pressure.
Tell Sen. Schumer: Don't let Joe Manchin serve as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committe.
Joe Manchin is the single worst possible choice to lead Senate Democrats' work on the Energy Committee. Here are just a few of the many reasons Manchin is unqualified this position:
- Just a few months ago, he was the only Senate Democrat who voted to confirm anti-environment Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
- Last year, he voiced support for Donald Trump's disastrous decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord.3
- During the Obama administration, Manchin repeatedly voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and frequently accused Pres. Obama of waging a "war on coal."4
- He is the only Democratic Senator with a lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters below 50 percent.5
Tell Senator Schumer: The ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources must support bold action to fight climate change. Pick anyone other than Joe Manchin for this important position.
The good news is that activists and progressive politicians are starting to fight back. Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said at a Green New Deal press conference recently that she has concerns with Manchin serving as ranking member, arguing that politicians should not be "financed by the industries that we are supposed to be legislating and regulating."6 And just the other day, activists with Sunrise New York and Indivisible Brooklyn rallied outside one of Sen. Schumer's New York offices to demand that he pick someone other than Manchin to serve as ranking member.
According to the Democratic Party's official platform, "Democrats believe that climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers and defeatists in Congress to start listening to science, and support using every tool available to reduce emissions now."7 If Senate Democratic leader Schumer agrees with that sentiment, he can't allow Sen. Joe Manchin to lead his Senate Democrats' work on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Thanks for everything you do.
- Ari Natter, "Green Nightmare: Coal-Loving Manchin May Get Energy Panel Perch," Bloomberg, Dec. 4, 2018.
- Rebecca Kern and Dean Scott, "Sen. Cantwell May Leave Energy Committee for Ranking on Commerce," Bloomberg Environment, Nov. 7, 2018.
- Olivia Beavers, "Dem senator: Paris accord did not 'balance' environment, economy," The Hill, June 1, 2017.
- Andrew Prokop, "6 Democrats standing in the way of action on climate change," Vox, Jun. 6, 2014.
- League of Conservation Voters, "National Environmental Scorecard for Senator Joe Manchin III."
- Mark Hand, "Ocasio-Cortez joins activists in raising concerns about naming Manchin to ranking energy position," ThinkProgress, Dec. 3, 2018.
- Democratic National Committee, "The 2016 Democratic Platform," accessed Dec. 4, 2018.