No Ordinary Joe: Manchin’s Pivotal Role on Shale, Climate in a Divided Senate

The West Virginia senator pursues bipartisan solutions and is determined to not let the energy transition leave his constituents behind.

U.S. Sen Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; U.S. Capitol; construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Cowen, W.Va.; map of West Virginia. (Source: HartEnergy.com; vasilis asvestas, Andrea Izzotti, Malachi Jacobs, SevenMap/Shutterstock.com)

U.S. Sen Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) heads the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; U.S. Capitol; construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Cowen, W.Va.; map of West Virginia. (Source: HartEnergy.com; vasilis asvestas, Andrea Izzotti, Malachi Jacobs, SevenMap/Shutterstock.com)

Just a day after The New Republic crowned him “King of the Senate,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) held court on a webinar, emphasizing the importance of U.S. energy independence, why he will not let West Virginia shale workers and coal miners be left behind in the energy transition and why a carbon tax won’t happen on his watch, among other topics.

“For all of us to be able to move forward, we have to be in the same mindset,” Manchin said during a fireside chat hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center on Feb. 4. “Do you believe the United States of America should be energy independent or do everything possible to stay energy independent? Because right now we are. Some people might not care about that. That’s a hard conversation to have.”

That said, not only does the newly appointed chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee not resist the transition to cleaner sources of energy, he embraces the opportunities to develop a cleaner environment through innovation, not through elimination.

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Joseph Markman

Joseph Markman, senior editor for Hart Energy, covers midstream, markets and policy/regulations.