Coal industry leaders blasted Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) for his agreement with Democratic leadership on a climate and tax-focused reconciliation bill that they say would “severely threaten” the industry.
In a statement Wednesday, America’s State Coal Associations, a group of eight state trade organizations in the coal industry, blistered Manchin for endorsing the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.” The group said that Manchin’s support for the package, which has been lauded by the Biden administration and praised by climate activists like Biden’s climate czar John Kerry, leads the coal industry to question the “motivation and sincerity” of Manchin’s interest in protecting fossil fuels.
“The more you read and digest the provisions found in over 700+ pages of legislative digest, the more it becomes abundantly clear this legislation will serve to severely threaten American coal and the $261 Billion of annual revenues that it produces for the nation’s overall economy and attendant 381,000 American jobs,” the coal associations wrote.
“This legislation is so egregious, it leaves those of us that call Senator Manchin a friend, shocked and disheartened. Senator Manchin has seemingly fought against numerous climate measures advanced over the past year by the national democratic establishment insisting that America’s Coal assets be protected and allowed to continue to operate as carbon reduction strategies are developed and proven to be effective within reasonable cost and performance parameters. The current Schumer-Manchin draft agreement on climate and energy frankly leaves us questioning the motivation and sincerity of Manchin’s previous stance and his repeated chant: we must ‘Innovate not eliminate.’”
The group went on to blast the bill itself, pointing out that it was praised by President Joe Biden, who called it “the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis” in remarks last week. The statement also pointed out that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have “signed off” on the bill, “which alone speaks volumes to the extreme and deadly scenario it brings to our nation’s coal industry.”
Pelosi endorsed the bill in a letter to Senate leadership Tuesday; Sanders, meanwhile, gave a floor speech outlining what he thought were the merits and shortcomings of the plan, and suggested amendments to be added when the Senate takes it up for consideration.
The group also points out several specific provisions that will hurt coal production.
“By turbocharging the lofty incentives that already extend to renewable energy, our nation’s … coal electric generation assets will continue to be devalued and thrust into rapid decline as will the thousands of miners, plant workers and the 371,000 American families who household incomes depend on these jobs,” the group said. “The Schumer-Manchin bill doubles the current tax on coal and subjects mining companies to the highest tax of any other American business effectively costing mining companies tens of millions of dollars in new taxes and adding to the complexities of keeping state fuel and household energy costs stable and competitive. More disturbing, the Schumer-Manchin proposal provides President Biden’s EPA with the clear and unbridled ability and expanded budget to regulate greenhouse gases and state coal assets however they deem appropriate or in the most punitive manner possible.”
“It is incomprehensible why any miner would support the Manchin-Schumer legislation which will not only put an immediate stop to the investment and financing behind our states coal and electric generating assets but forever foreclose on America’s coal industry!” the group concluded.