Progressives Freak out about a Coal-Country Lawmaker Overseeing Federal Energy Policy

By Wegmann, Philip | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, December 10, 2018 | Go to article overview

Progressives Freak out about a Coal-Country Lawmaker Overseeing Federal Energy Policy


Wegmann, Philip, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


One of the last centrist Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is an endangered species in need of a political reservation. He may find one as the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The possibility of a senator from coal country overseeing the energy industry has infuriated environmentalists and progressives alike, including at least two potential presidential contenders, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer. The progressive action group CREDO recently summed up outrage, telling Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “anyone but Manchin for ranking member on Energy Committee.”

Not all Democrats have declared open season though. They have downplayed the damage Manchin could do.

“On climate, we’re going to make decisions collectively as a caucus. Nobody in our caucus has a veto over climate policy — whether they’re a ranking member on a committee or not,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told Politico.

This is true. Manchin won’t turn his colleagues into coal-burning, oil-guzzling fossil fuel fans. It is also true that his colleagues know they need Manchin.

The senator just won re-election in a state President Trump carried by 40 points. …

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