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Sen. Joe Manchin

This month, Sen. Joe Manchin's interests in the fossil fuel industry have been the subject of in-depth reporting by Coral Davenport in the New York Times and Kate Aronoff in The New Republic. And when Bloomberg News reporter Ari Natter asked the centrist West Virginia Democrat about his fossil fuel interests this week, Manchin became quite defensive.

Davenport, on September 19, reported, "Joe Manchin, the powerful West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate energy panel and earned half a million dollars last year from coal production, is preparing to remake President Biden's climate legislation in a way that tosses a lifeline to the fossil fuel industry — despite urgent calls from scientists that countries need to quickly pivot away from coal, gas and oil to avoid a climate catastrophe."

Aronoff noted that Manchin has received considerable donations from fossil fuel companies and made millions of dollars from Enersystems Inc. and Farmington Resources, two coal companies he founded during the 1980s."NBC News' Frank Thorp, on Twitter, described the testy exchange between Manchin and Natter — who asked if it is a conflict of interest that someone with his fossil fuel connections is playing a major role in shaping energy policy. Manchin said of Enersystems, "I've been in a blind trust for 20 years. I have no idea what they're doing."

But Natter persisted, noting that Manchin is still receiving dividends from Enersystems stock — to which Manchin angrily responded, "You got a problem?"

Natter also pointed out that Manchin handed over control of Enersystems to his son, Joseph. And the senator snapped, "You'd do best to change the subject."


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