News Release

Joe Manchin Cannot Be Blamed for All Climate Obstruction


MITCH JONES, Seth Gladstone,
    The Biden administration is pressing Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act, touted as the most substantial investment in climate action in the nation’s history. Passing the spending bill is intended to demonstrate to world leaders at the COP26 conference in Glasgow that the United States is finally serious about addressing the climate crisis.

    Jones is policy director at the national advocacy organization Food & Water Watch.

    He said today: “As it currently stands, the Build Back Better reconciliation package does relatively little to confront climate pollution from fossil fuels. Talking about it as the most comprehensive climate legislation of all time is misleading, in that Congress has done next to nothing to compare it to. The bill primarily delivers an array of tax credits for purchases of renewable energy and electric cars, while expanding financial incentives for so-called ‘carbon capture’ schemes and protecting the billions of dollars that are wasted on domestic fossil fuel subsidies. These are the government giveaways that literally make oil and gas drilling look profitable to Wall Street and fossil fuel corporations.

    “The intense focus on the success of this spending bill takes some of the spotlight away from the actions that the Biden administration could be taking on its own to rein in fossil fuel production. The White House has extraordinary powers to limit the supply of fossil fuels that do not require the blessing of Senator Joe Manchin or the entirety of the Republican Party. Biden campaigned on a promise to stop oil and gas drilling on federal land — but since the election has not taken aggressive action to rein in this drilling. In fact, the Biden administration is approving new drilling permits at an astonishing pace.

    “The White House could immediately direct all relevant agencies to stop approvals of new fossil fuel infrastructure, including major new oil and gas pipelines. It could put a halt to fossil fuel exports, including crude oil. These are all common sense executive actions that would demonstrate seriousness in confronting a crisis that President Biden has called an existential threat. Failure to take such actions cannot be blamed on Joe Manchin.”

    Jones recently wrote the piece “‘Compromising’ on Climate Is Horrible Politics, Deadly Policy, and Stupid Economics.”