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'The American people will pay the steepest price': How Joe Manchin self-sabotaged his fossil fuel gambit

Alternet logo Alternet 12/8/2022 Maya Boddie
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Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), head of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is being accused of “self-sabotage” after he failed to schedule a confirmation hearing for Richard Glick, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, The Washington Post reports.

Glick was recently nominated by President Joe Biden for a second, five-year term in June. Manchin's flub could not only cause Glick to lose his job at the end of the year – which would result in a 2-2 split between Republican and Democratic commissioners at FERC – but also undermine Manchin’s plan to build out America’s transmission infrastructure.

Despite its reputation as one of the “lesser-known” agencies, FERC boasts significant influence over the country’s transition to clean energy.

READ MORE: Democrats implored to reject Joe Manchin's 'toxic and dangerous' fossil fuel provisions in Pentagon bill

Earthjustice Vice President of Litigation for Climate and Energy Jill Tauber told The Post that the 2-2 split could negatively impact Biden’s climate agenda, as it could further delay the commission’s work of updating transmission policy. She also says if the goal is to build out a better clean energy policy, then it’s important to ensure a “fully constituted FERC,” by putting it in the best possible position to advance policy.

Howard Crystal, the director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Energy Justice Program, agreed with Tauber, saying, “Manchin holding up Glick’s reappointment seriously calls into question whether he even thinks the transmission provisions in the [permitting] bill are necessary or important.”

Although the reason why he declined Glick's hearing is unclear, Manchin’s colleagues have their suspicions. Per the Post, “Some observers have speculated that Manchin, who represents a top coal-producing state, is trying to pressure Biden and FERC to take a friendlier approach to the fossil fuel sector. But others have been left scratching their heads.”

Manchin's truth remains elusive.

READ MORE: Manchin slammed for rejecting paid leave for union workers who 'helped build the state’s economy'

Nonetheless, Manchin maintains his position, insisting that “the American people will pay the steepest price for Washington once again failing to put common sense policy ahead of toxic tribal politics.”

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