Explain That ‘Lesser-Of-Two-Evils’ Argument Again: Global Warming Denier Set To Lead Democrats On The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee


By Paul C
The Daily Kos (12/3/18)

I received an ominous email Friday from Oil Change USA’s Climate Truth Action saying that unless Sen. Schumer intervenes, global warming denier Sen. Joe Manchin is in line to “lead” Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (I will quote the email extensively as this is an action notice not an article):

Senator Manchin as ranking member in the Energy Committee would be a complete disaster. Senator Manchin has proven time and time again to be a fossil fuel money puppet, having accepted $965,288 from the coal, oil, and gas industries throughout his tenure in the Senate.

Just this week, Manchin was the only Democrat on the Energy Committee to vote with the Republicans to advance climate denier Bernard McNamee’s nomination to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Senator Manchin voted against protecting the Arctic Refuge from drilling, against phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and in support of rolling back a rule that protects waterways and ecosystems from toxic coal mining waste.

And Manchin voted in favor of the worst choice for EPA Chief in the history of the agency, Scott Pruitt.  To show that that wasn’t a mistake, Manchin doubled down by voting for Andrew Wheeler to take over from Pruitt when the latter was given the boot for record levels of corruption.  Many consider Wheeler to be more dangerous than Pruitt because he is much smarter and politically savvy while being every bit as corrupt as Pruitt.  Wheeler represented Murray Coal for many years.  Robert Murray played a pivotal role in formulating Trump’s war on the environment, including backing out of the Paris Accord and opposing Obama’s auto CAFE upgrades.

Has Manchin been corrupted by fossil fuel industry money to the tune of one MILLION dollars?  I don’t know, does Trump lust after his Precious?  Climate Truth continues:

In fact, analysis from FiveThirtyEight shows that Manchin votes with Trump 61% of the time. If Manchin ascends to the ranking member position, Democrats will lose a critical opportunity to stand up to the fossil fuel industry agenda in the Senate, and also miss the opportunity to lay the framework for re-prioritizing climate change in 2020 and beyond.

The critical Energy and Natural Resources Committee is tasked with drafting energy legislation in the Senate, and until now has had leadership on the Democratic side from Senator Cantwell of Washington as ranking member.

While Republicans have the Majority in the Senate, the ranking member position on the Democratic side represents a critical counterpoint to the committee moving forward with the fossil fuel industry’s wishes. However, Senator Cantwell is stepping down from her role, and all sources point to Senator Joe Manchin assuming the ranking member position for the Democrats.

In his role as Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer has the ability to prevent Joe Manchin from ascending to this important role. But so far, he’s refused to step in. It’s time for Schumer to stand up to the industry and prevent Manchin from becoming the Democrats’ leading voice on energy policy.

Another way to look at this is to ask how much daylight is there between Joe Manchin and Sen. James Inhofe with regard to energy policy?  It would be difficult to find divergence between the two. And try to imagine Democrats taking back the Senate in 2020 only to have a climate change denier ascend to the Chair of the powerful Senate Energy Committee — we would hold the Senate but have the equivalent of Senator James “Snowball” Inhofe running the critical Energy and Natural Resources Committee!  Holy crap!

This is exhibit A as to why we as a Party cannot convince voters that we actually stand for anything real.  It is very difficult to make a case against Republicans on opposing efforts to save the earth from the ravages of Global Warming when your own Party puts a Global Warming denier in charge of the Senate Energy Committee — for reasons.

Neither does it follow that because we tolerate the likes of Manchin from small states like WVa that are voting red at present, therefore we must give up a key Senate Committee Chair (leadership role) to him when he holds beliefs antithetical to everything the Party stands for on energy — at a critical time when the future of the planet is on the line.  Put another way, if 95 percent of Democrats want action on Global Warming, does it make any sense whatsoever to put a Global Warming denialist who is deep in the pocket of coal and oil in charge of our energy policy?

This is just mind blowing insanity and highly reckless.  How can we possibly advance a renewable energy agenda with the equivalent of James Inhofe in charge of energy policy?

Climate Truth is asking Democrats to call Senator Chuck Schumer’s office at (202) 224-6542 to ask him to oppose placing Joe Manchin in charge of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Here is a sample script they offer:


I’m calling to express my dismay that Senator Schumer may allow Senator Manchin to become the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Senator Manchin is in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry and the WRONG CHOICE to be the face of Democrats on energy policy. Senator Schumer needs to take control and find a suitable alternative – anyone but Manchin!

I’m paying attention and will hold the Senator accountable for his actions.

Thank you.

You can also tweet at Sen. Schumer at @SenSchumer, and/or fill out the webform on his website here.  

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