West Virginia coal and gas, and policies designed to stop their burning, have always had a special place in Mr. Manchin’s politics. A Manchin family-owned business has made a small fortune selling waste coal from abandoned mines to a heavily polluting power plant in the state. The blind trust in which Mr. Manchin’s interests lie held between $500,000 and $1 million last year, according to his most recent disclosure form. The company, Enersystems, valued at between $1 million and $5 million, delivered the senator $492,000 in dividends, interest and business income in 2020, the May disclosure states.
He received more campaign donations from the oil, coal and gas industries than any other senator in the current election cycle.
His first run for the Senate featured an advertisement in which he promised, “I’ll take dead aim at the cap and trade bill because it’s bad for West Virginia” as he shoots a copy of Mr. Obama’s climate legislation with a rifle. Six years later, he reprised his performance for his re-election, saying: “Hey, I haven’t changed. I might be a few years older, but I’ll still take on anyone that messes with West Virginia.”
Democrats thought that the substantial weakening of the climate provisions in the House bill had gotten Mr. Manchin within shouting distance of yes.
Though Mr. Manchin has always said his share of the coal brokerage is hidden in a blind trust, any general threat to coal power would impact that business.