The outgoing senator was an exemplar of everything that’s wrong with money in politics.

by Basav Sen, The Hill

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced recently that he won’t seek reelection in 2024, but he hasn’t ruled out a potential third-party presidential campaign.

For climate advocates especially, Manchin’s career embodied the incredibly corrosive influence of fossil fuel money in politics. But solving that problem will take a lot more than one senator stepping down.

joe manchin walks away from protestors

The outgoing lawmaker reportedly received more fossil fuel industry campaign money in the last cycle than any other federal legislator — and is himself a coal millionaire. Worse still, he leveraged his perch as the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to enact policies benefiting his corporate donors and himself.

Manchin was the architect of a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act requiring oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters as a condition for any renewable energy leasing. He championed provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that subsidize risky, unproven technologies such as carbon capture and storage and hydrogen energy, which greenwash continued fossil fuel production and use.

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