As Usual, Senator Manchin Puts Fossil Fuel Interests Over Vulnerable Communities

WASHINGTON, DC - Earlier this week, in another devastating blow to our communities, Sen. Joe Manchin (Democrat in name only-WV) told Democratic leaders that he would not support the climate and clean energy portions of the legislative package that has been mired in blockages and fruitless negotiations for the better part of two years.

Aside from being a tremendous waste of time, effort, and taxpayer resources, Senator Manchin's actions have once again made it clear that he will not protect the American people from the worsening climate crisis – including those he represents in West Virginia. He made his millions from dirty coal. His decision to derail critical investments in climate, justice, clean energy, jobs, and health that the American people want and need – particularly our most vulnerable brown and black communities – has made it clear that Senator Manchin is cementing his legacy as a special interest politician who is only loyal to the fossil fuel industries that have lined his pockets.

In Latino/a/x communities, the detrimental impact of Senator Manchin walking away from the most significant climate investment in U.S. history will be severe and deadly. 48% of Latino/a/xs in the U.S. live in counties that frequently violate ground-level ozone standards. More than 1.78 million reside in areas where toxic air pollution from oil and gas facilities is so high that the cancer risk exceeds the EPA’s level of concern.

Senator Manchin’s shameful failure to address these crises is a blow to the 81% of Latino/a/x voters concerned about the air and water pollution burdening their families and the nearly 93% of Latino/a/x voters who say protecting the quality of the environment for future generations is essential to them.

Senator Manchin and every Republican Senator have failed the American people. We have no idea when the next opportunity for sweeping climate legislation will come, and Senator Manchin has made sure to squander the precious time we don’t have with the raging effects of the climate crisis. We have no time to play games with the lives of the people in our communities. We call on President Biden to do everything in his executive authority to hold his Presidential promise of protecting environmental justice communities and slashing climate pollution in half by 2030.

Program Director statements:

“It has never been more evident - Joe Manchin has zero interest in taking anything resembling meaningful action on the climate crisis. Manchin’s stance is clear: he would rather we die than create a sustainable climate future. But we have no time to spare in taking strong policy action to make our communities more sustainable. From high electricity costs to toxic tailpipe emissions, Latino/a/x communities bear disproportionate health and economic burden for the costs of climate degradation. We will not rest until we achieve climate justice for all, despite Manchin’s best efforts,” said Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, Sustainable Communities Program Director.

"In the shadow of increasing food & housing insecurity, exposure to toxic pollutants, and deprivation from nature in America, Congress should have done everything in their power to protect Americans through comprehensive domestic climate policy. But they failed, and the onus is on Senator Manchin and Republican members of the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. Without legislation, it is unlikely that our institutions will cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030; our communities will face toxic environments daily because of Senator Manchin's disgraceful failure to uphold democratic values. As a GreenLatinos community, we must now support each other more than ever to demand the Administration take courageous executive climate action," said Olivia Juarez, Public Land Program Director.

“There are no words to describe how shattered and disappointed we feel in watching Senator Manchin throw away this unparalleled opportunity to invest in the health and livelihoods of our communities. By putting polluter profits ahead of the health and wellbeing of the American people, especially for Latinx communities that have long been hit hardest by the harmful effects of pollution and the climate crisis, this is a devastating blow. In the wake of Congressional inaction, we urge President Biden to do everything in his power to take meaningful actions that meet the urgency of the moment” said Irene Burga, Climate Justice and Clean Air Program Director.

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