After bipartisan rebuff, Manchin abandons private legislative deal to help fossil fuel projects – with an eye on 2020
Sen. Joe Manchin has taken his opposition to the oil industry to the House floor – and now faces a tough re-election battle with the issue.
The Mountain State Democrat’s latest move came Wednesday as he announced he had reached a mutual deal with the oil and gas industry to help its projects in West Virginia and Ohio.
The agreement, which is being called the Manchin-Coure-Weick legislation, will see the state receive $500 million in annual funding that will be used over several years to “help fund” new projects such as pipelines and drilling projects.
The funding is meant to “help spur economic development in key energy regions,” Manchin said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
And the legislation was the first concrete step in a major campaign push by Manchin’s camp in the closing years of his 13-year Senate career – an attempt to highlight his past support for renewable energy and his opposition to the oil and gas industry.
“The bill I introduced in the senate last week is not just a bill that sets a tone and a direction for the future,” Manchin said in a statement. “It is an investment in our state’s economic future.”
The “investment” comes with a caveat: the funds will only be used to the extent the state’s residents agree, a requirement he said he is confident he can meet.
The legislation was the first legislative step in a strategy by Manchin’s campaign for 2020.
“We believe that we can build a campaign focused on creating opportunity for West Virginians,” said Mark Nickolai, Manchin’s campaign manager, in a statement explaining the move, “and we’ll let the facts speak for themselves.”
But his critics were