Behind Manchin’s Opposition, a Long History of Fighting Climate Measures

Minnesota Democratic Senator Tina Smith said of her last conversation with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, which she said took place early last week, “We were close.”

A proponent of renewable energy, Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, said, “We had good conversations with him and his staff.”

Mr. Wetstone recalled that “all of the prior conversations had been along the lines that he didn’t want to penalise fossil fuel but was fine incentivizing clean power. There have been no indications of opposition from Manchin or anyone else to the clean energy provisions.”

Tax incentives for wind, solar, and nuclear power producers and purchasers total about $320 billion in the House-passed bill. Customers of electric vehicles would be eligible for up to $12,500 in federal tax credits. $6 billion will go toward making buildings more energy-efficient, $6 billion to replace gas-powered furnaces and appliances with electric models, and another $6 billion to research and develop new technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Homeowners will be able to claim a 30 percent tax credit for geothermal pumps and small wind turbines, in addition to the current credits for solar panels and geothermal pumps.

Mr. Manchin has always claimed that his share of the coal brokerage is hidden in a blind trust, but if coal power is threatened, that business will be affected.

According to a congressional official who was familiar with the counteroffer that Mr. Manchin presented to the White House last week, it contained reduced climate-related tax provisions.

Unresolved matters such as charging oil and gas companies that emit greenhouse gas methane remain outside the scope of the agreement. While the House-passed bill would put the reliability of the electricity grid at risk and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains, Mr. Manchin said on Monday that tax credits for electric vehicles should not be available to the wealthiest Americans.