Asked for comment, Mr. Manchin’s spokeswoman, Sam Runyon, pointed to these provisions, as well as an additional $5 billion in the package that would allow existing coal-fired power plants to improve efficiency and implement environmental controls, such as scrubbers, which remove pollutants from chimneys. remove. . Those measures to help the coal industry, she noted, come on top of $8.5 billion for carbon capture and storage, which Mr Manchin secured last year as part of a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
More than a decade ago, Mr. Manchin ran a campaign ad in which he shot a bullet through President Barack Obama’s climate plan, which ultimately failed. So when Mr Biden took office, he knew Mr Manchin would be his biggest obstacle to passing an ambitious climate change bill.
At every step, Mr. Manchin shaped the legislation.
Many Democrats wanted a clean energy standard that electricity companies would pay to replace coal- and gas-fired power plants with renewable energy, and that would penalize those who didn’t. But Mr. Manchin was against the measure, so he was dropped. He vetoed a plan to provide larger tax credits to consumers who bought union electric vehicles, a move opposed by Toyota Motor, which operates a non-union factory in West Virginia. And he made sure that the tax credits for electric vehicles could not be used by the richest Americans.
Mr Manchin did, but did not abolish the compensation imposed on oil and gas companies for leakage of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from wells, pipelines and other infrastructure. He rejected an early Democrats’ plan to permanently ban oil drilling in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and ensured that long-term tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry, which many Democrats wanted to repeal, were left unaffected.
As negotiations continued and war broke out in Ukraine, sending oil prices skyrocketing worldwide, Mr Manchin spoke of the need to drill more to lower gasoline prices and cut government spending. The price tag of what was once a $2.2 trillion bill plummeted and more than $200 billion in climate spending was thrown away.
Ultimately, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic majority leader, was willing to include several provisions that would oblige the federal government to open more public lands for drilling. At the same time, the bill would increase the royalties that energy companies have to pay for extracting fossil fuels in those areas.