After bipartisan rebuff, Manchin abandons private legislative deal to help fossil fuel projects
In the fall of 2018, after months of discussions with lawmakers and energy companies, West Virginia senator Joe Manchin announced he supported a bill that would help the state build a liquefied natural gas terminal in northern West Virginia. Manchin’s decision was hailed as a major breakthrough by environmentalists and energy companies.
A year and a half after Manchin signed the bill, though, his decision came at a cost—Manchin decided to abandon the bill over a deal he made with the oil and gas industry.
In late April, West Virginia senators held a second vote on the bill that had already passed the first one in the state. This time, Manchin opposed the bill to help the LNG terminal, which would have brought billions of dollars of investment to his home state.
The vote was split along party lines, with a vote of 41-30 in favor of the LNG bill and 37-32 against. When the vote was tallied, the bill was dead.
Now that the bill has been killed, Manchin is saying that he regrets signing the bill that would have benefitted oil and gas companies.
“I regret voting for it,” Manchin told the Charleston Gazette. “No bill is perfect. No bill. One bill has a lot of issues. There are a lot of issues with it.”
The vote could be a sign of what’s to come
Legislation that aims to expand the use of fossil fuels—and those that are more friendly to fossil fuels—is likely to be back in the state’s Capitol after this year.
A number of West Virginia’s senators, including Manchin, have expressed interest in pushing forward a bill that would expand the fossil fuel industry’s economic benefits.
The bill that passed in the fall of 2018, the West Virginia Oil & Gas Development Act, drew support from the Trump administration, which was concerned with how a new natural gas terminal would affect the state’s climate. A number of West Virginians and other environmental activists, though,