Joe Manchin delivers another gut punch to Joe Biden’s climate agenda


Sen. Joe Manchin forced a setback to President Biden’s green agenda Wednesday by wielding his power atop the Senate Energy Committee and refusing to sign off on one of the administration’s top climate change lieutenants.

The West Virginia Democrat “was not comfortable holding a hearing” to confirm Richard Glick, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that oversees power companies and natural gas pipelines, for another five-year term, Mr. Manchin’s office told reporters.

Mr. Glick’s current tenure will expire at the end of the year, leaving the five-person independent regulatory panel in a 2-2 Democrat vs. Republican deadlock on a host of energy and environmental issues key to Mr. Biden’s climate change priorities.

Neither the FERC nor the White House immediately responded to requests for comment.

The move will undoubtedly receive cheers from the energy industry, which has viewed Mr. Glick’s reign as a roadblock to more domestic fossil fuel production, and criticism from green activists for leaving uncertain an ally who supports more stringent environmental regulations.

The decision comes amid a fraught relationship between Mr. Manchin and the FERC’s Democratic members, including Mr. Glick. The commission’s Democratic majority reversed course earlier this year in a bid to add environmental roadblocks for approving natural gas pipelines, a proposal that received fierce criticism from Mr. Manchin and Republicans amid calls for more natural gas amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.

SEE ALSO: Progressives launch ‘Don’t Run Joe’ campaign to stop Biden from seeking a second term

Mr. Manchin’s home state of West Virginia is one of the largest natural gas producers in the country.

His move to block Mr. Glick, who was first nominated to the FERC by former President Donald Trump and elevated to chairman by Mr. Biden, means that the president could renominate Mr. Glick next year in the new Congress. However, his fate would remain uncertain, so long as Mr. Manchin is at the helm of the Energy Committee.

Throughout his presidency, Mr. Manchin has forced Mr. Biden to scale back his climate change agenda, thanks in large part to a 50-50 split Senate.

Mr. Manchin’s decision also comes as Mr. Biden travels to an annual United Nations summit in Egypt to discuss climate change. The president will deliver a speech on Friday to attendees at the conference being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Over the weekend, Mr. Biden drew blowback — including from Mr. Manchin — by pledging to shutter another source of energy that West Virginia is one of the leading producers of: coal. Mr. Manchin has long-running personal financial ties to the industry.


Source link