As the Biden administration continues its efforts to promote the ‘Build Back Better’ package, a key Democratic Senator has blocked its passage in Congress. That Senator is Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has faced criticism for his opposition to this package due to his potential financial gain from increased coal prices.
The core of the outcry around Manchin’s stance comes from his own investments in coal. Namely, he owns a private company called Enersystems that produces coal-related products such as mining equipment, supplies, and services. Thanks to Manchin’s staunch defense of coal production, prices have skyrocketed since he took office – enriching investors like himself while putting consumers at a financial disadvantage.
This increase in coal production has been greatly out of step with changing energy demands in America. In 1990, 33% of electricity was generated with coal but today that figure has fallen off drastically – 19% of U.S electricity now comes from coal sources. This decline is largely due to advances in renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power that are more accessible and efficient than ever before. Furthermore, carbon capture utilization & storage (CCUS) policies have provided an additional incentive for companies to move away from fossil fuels towards renewable options as they can receive financial benefits for their emissions reduction efforts through CCUS credits.
But despite this decline in demand for electricity produced by coal, Manchin remains steadfastly dedicated to the industry which earned him his wealth – even if it means sacrificing job opportunities for West Virginians employed by the industry and higher utility bills for consumers across the country who face rising costs due to higher coal prices caused by Manchin’s interference.
In short: Senator Joe Manchin’s opposition to President Biden’s Build Back Better package has benefited investors like himself while hurting consumers who are forced to pay more money for their utility bills thanks to higher than-necessary coal prices caused by his actions. Unfortunately, this isn’t anything new – wealthy politicians like Senator Manchin often use their positions of power to benefit themselves at expense of everyday Americans struggling with economic hardship or looking for job opportunities during these difficult times.