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Sen. Joe Manchin’s deal to help coal companies could cost him his Senate seat

Sen. Joe Manchin’s deal to help coal companies could cost him his Senate seat

After bipartisan rebuff, Manchin abandons private legislative deal to help fossil fuel projects

Sen. Joe Manchin has signed on to a last-ditch effort to help the coal industry, but critics warn it could cost him his seat. (Photo provided by Manchin’s political operation)

WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who made a key decision on the environment and climate policy in the last Congress before his party was ousted, may be risking his political future.

The Democrat, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has accepted a private offer from coal companies to help write a controversial deal with the Trump Administration that would roll back Barack Obama-era carbon regulations. But his decision could cost him the chance to be the ranking Republican member on one of the most powerful committees in the Senate, something he says he wants to avoid.

“I think it’s a problem for the Senate because what this would do is essentially send a message that is going to cause problems for Republicans and for the president,” Manchin told reporters in his hometown of Charleston, West Virginia, on Friday. “I don’t think it’s something I’m taking lightly.”

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The climate-change agreement is one of several contentious proposals unveiled by Trump administration officials over the last month. The officials from the Department of Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Office of Management and Budget proposed sweeping changes to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, which, many say, would open up the nation’s public lands for more coal mining, oil drilling and fracking. The final version of the agreement, to be released by the White House next week, is also expected to propose major changes to Obama-era rules set by the agencies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, including an extension of the Clean Power Plan.

The agreement, while being written, was signed and delivered Friday to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where it is to be debated and voted on over the next few days.

On Sunday, Manchin’s political campaign announced an agreement with the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, an industry group that would help lobby Congress to vote the agreement through.

This is part of the first major collaboration between the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the groups that will help Manchin and his GOP colleagues on

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