US: Advocates praise Schumer-Manchin climate deal, despite a possible short-term bump in oil, gas leases

Some Democrats are pushing for a Hail Mary attempt to win over Manchin on a climate deal after September. The odds are stacked against them.

  Some Democrats are pushing for a Hail Mary attempt to win over Manchin on a climate deal after September. The odds are stacked against them. Democrats seem wary of going on another wild-goose chase to win over Senator Joe Manchin on climate after a year of negotiating chaos.Several Senate Democrats such as Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts are pressing for a Hail Mary shot to secure the support of Manchin on another spending package after September. Beginning with the new federal fiscal year in October, Democrats can craft another reconciliation bill separate from the one they aim to pass within weeks, also capable of skirting fierce GOP opposition and passing with only a simple majority vote. Democrats floated the maneuver last fall when final passage appeared achievable by the end of 2021.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's initial ambitions to combat climate change called for an aggressive phase-out of fossil fuels.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the coal country lawmaker whose state economy depends on natural gas production, was never going to let that happen.

Instead, the deal Manchin brokered over the past week with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., could actually expand the nation's reliance on fossil fuels – at least in the short run. While it's heavy on tax credits and incentives to help build out the nation's still-maturing clean energy sector, it opens up the potential for more oil and gas exploration during the transition to a greener economy.

Manchin, Schumer in surprise deal on health, energy, taxes

  Manchin, Schumer in surprise deal on health, energy, taxes WASHINGTON (AP) — In a startling turnabout, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin announced an expansive agreement Wednesday that had eluded them for months addressing health care and climate, raising taxes on high earners and large corporations and reducing federal debt. The two Democrats said the Senate would vote on the wide-ranging measure next week, setting up President Joe Biden and Democrats for an unexpected victory in the runup to November elections in which their congressional control is in peril. A House vote would follow, perhaps later in August, with unanimous Republican opposition in both chambers seemingly certain.

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"I just could not absolutely in any way - it's aspirational - (support) getting rid of everything," Manchin told reporters Thursday, referring  to his fellow Democrats' desire to abandon carbon-emitting fossil fuels. "Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate isn't going to work at all. I was never for that."

"This is a bill that keeps the fossil industry and keeps the country in a very strong position until those new technologies – whenever that may be, 10, 20 years from now – (are) able to kick in," he said. "And that transition will happen when, whatever you have that you're using, you've got something better to replace it with and it can do just as well if not better. Cheaper prices. The market takes over."

Schumer rallies Democrats after surprise deal with Manchin

  Schumer rallies Democrats after surprise deal with Manchin WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told fellow Senate Democrats on Thursday they now have an opportunity to achieve two “hugely important” priorities on health care and climate change, if they stick together and approve a deal he brokered with hold-out Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Schumer spoke at a private caucus meeting after the startling turnaround over an expansive agreement he and Manchin struck that had eluded them for months. The Democratic leader's comments were relayed by a person familiar with the meeting at the Capitol complex and granted anonymity to discuss it.

Some activists immediately panned the plan, saying the prospect of letting fossil fuels expand was hard to swallow even with billions for clean energy components.

Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, warned the measure would push massive oil and gas leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska and mandate that millions more acres of public lands be offered for leasing before any new solar or wind energy projects could be built on public lands or waters.

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“This is a climate suicide pact,” he said in a statement. “It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction."

50-50 Senate means Biden needs Manchin's blessing

Despite an initial push last year from Biden, Democratic lawmakers and environmental activists to limit carbon emissions that are warming the planet, there was also a realization this current deal might be the best on the table.

Unexpected deal would boost Biden pledge on climate change

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Manchin wields extraordinary influence in Congress, thanks to a Senate that's split 50-50 (with Vice President Kamala Harris allowed to break ties). That means the scope of Biden's climate policy extends only as far as Manchin allows it.

It was the West Virginia Democrat, who also chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who scuttled a key part of Biden's Build Back Better bill last year that would have rewarded utilities that sped up their transition to clean energy – and penalized them if they didn't.

Biden is already on board with the latest plan, even though the $369 billion in climate funding as part of the just-announced deal is less than the $555 billion he initially proposed and is expected to fall far short of the president's pledge to decarbonize the country's electrical grid by 2035 and eliminate emissions altogether by 2050.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a major reversal, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced his support for the legislation that includes provisions for climate change, tax hikes on corporations and health care subsidies. © Anna Moneymaker, Getty Images U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 28, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a major reversal, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced his support for the legislation that includes provisions for climate change, tax hikes on corporations and health care subsidies.

Speaking from the White House Thursday, Biden called the bill "the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis and improve our energy security right away. And it’ll give us a tool to meet the climate goals that are set - that we’ve agreed to - by cutting emissions and accelerating clean energy. A huge step forward."

Manchin and Sinema are on a collision course over closing a tax loophole for rich Americans. It could upend Biden's $790 billion deal.

  Manchin and Sinema are on a collision course over closing a tax loophole for rich Americans. It could upend Biden's $790 billion deal. It's possible Democrats will wait days, if not weeks, before Sinema breaks her silence on a surprise spending deal.Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia stunned many by striking an agreement for a $790 billion climate, healthcare, and tax package. The legislation is much bigger than most Democrats thought possible only two weeks ago when Manchin appeared to take climate programs and tax hikes off the table, citing growing fears about fueling inflation.

11th-hour deal provides 'much needed hope'

But any deal on climate seemed dead until Wednesday's announcement.

So most environmental and clean energy advocates said they are generally supportive of the package of climate incentives Manchin and Schumer announced Wednesday as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The broader measure also would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and cut the deficit by approximately $300 billion over the next decade, in part by forcing large corporations to pay a minimum 15% tax rate.

What's in the bill?: 'Inflation Reduction Act': What you need to know about major effort to fight climate change

11th-hour deal: With window closing, Sen. Joe Manchin, Senate Leader Schumer reach deal on energy, drug prices, taxes

Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the deal "incredible news and gives us much needed hope."

The bill, which could be voted on as early as next week, provides billions in tax credits and other incentives to build out clean energy transmission and storage networks, install solar panels and wind turbines, retrofit manufacturing plants, and develop new technologies. There's money to help consumers through home energy rebates and to help them trade in their gas-powered cars for electric vehicles.

Biden follows rather than leads as Democrats revise and revive spending plans

  Biden follows rather than leads as Democrats revise and revive spending plans Fresh from redefining the word “recession,” President Joe Biden may be on the verge of doing the same with “leadership.” Shortly after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) restarted the Democratic legislative parade, Biden decided to park his float at the front.There was no shortage of commentators ready to make Biden the grand marshal.

There's also $3 billion in the measure to finance the U.S. Postal Service's purchase of thousands of zero-emission trucks, about half what Biden had initially proposed last year.

And it would target methane leaks from natural gas production. Methane is a key contributor to global warming.

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John Larsen, who heads U.S. energy system and climate policy research at the data firm Rhodium Group, doesn't view the bill's leasing component with the same alarm as some environmental activists. He doesn't expect the proposal would enable a massive expansion of oil and gas development and thinks that any desire by fossil fuel firms to expand production would be mitigated by the higher royalty fees the government would impose on public lands.

The green energy components, he predicted, would be a "much more significant influence on emissions" than any potential increase in fossil fuel production.

Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president of energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress, said tying the development of fossil fuels to the transition to clean energy "does very much seem counterproductive." She she plans to keep fighting future lease sales.

"This overall package, huge step in the right direction," she said Thursday. "But there's a lot of stuff along the way that we will continue to fight against and make the case that this is not productive when we're moving toward a clean energy future."

Manchin defends climate, tax deal with Schumer in multi-show blitz

  Manchin defends climate, tax deal with Schumer in multi-show blitz Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) appeared on all five major political talk shows on Sunday to defend his climate, health care and tax deal reached with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) while fending off Republican senators who called it a betrayal. Manchin took to the airwaves to portray the package as inflation-fighting legislation, championing provisions…Manchin took to the airwaves to portray the package as inflation-fighting legislation, championing provisions like those empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices and a $300 billion allocation to reduce the federal deficit.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Advocates praise Schumer-Manchin climate deal, despite a possible short-term bump in oil, gas leases

The Democrats' new deal could help save planet Earth – and struggling West Virginia .
Kentucky flooding and Biden's fist bump show we need both urgent climate action and fossil fuel production. It's an all-of-the-above Manchin moment.To the shock of almost no one, Trump was unable turn back time, reverse climate change or manufacture demand. The real shock is that because of a deal coalescing in Congress, West Virginia – its identity tied so tightly and sometimes so tragically to coal mining – now could be on the verge of a post-coal energy future.

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