'Hard to justify': Coal plant fighting to stay in operation could bring long-term profits for Manchin

'Hard to justify': Coal plant fighting to stay in operation could bring long-term profits for Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) // CBS News

A power plant fighting to continue operating is hoping to stay in business by drawing electricity for cryptocurrency mining. According to E&E News, while the move would keep the plant in business, it would also allow it to keep "burning some of the dirtiest coal on the market."

Them power plant's continued operations would also lead to long-term profits for Sen. Joe Manchin (R-W.Va.). Manchin's family has a professional history with The Grant Town power plant, the only facility that still burns waste coal, or "gob."

On Friday, November 12, the owner of Grant Tower shared a proposal to continue burning gob so it can power computer systems specifically for online cryptocurrency mining. Manchin's company, Enersystems, "supplies the plant with nearly all of the gob, or waste coal, it uses for electricity generation from large piles of discarded shale, clay and slurry dug out from two nearby coal mines that closed years ago."

The Democratic lawmaker created obstacles for President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan due to climate provisions in the bill he opposed. While many Republican lawmakers balked at the budget for the proposed package, Manchin expressed concern about the Clean Electricity Performance Program which would have designated funding for utility companies specializing in the sale of clean energy. The incentive would have created more pressure for the closure of coal plants like Grant Tower, which Manchin is profiting from.

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Per E&E News:

"Manchin has collected more than $5 million from Enersystems since he was elected to the Senate in 2010, according to financial disclosure documents. His stock in the company is worth up to another $5 million."

As Manchin continues his pushback against clean energy, Dave Anderson, policy and communications manager for the Energy and Policy Institute, notes how the West Virginia lawmaker's stance is problematic and conflicting.

"You have Joe Manchin talking about how utilities are already moving toward clean energy so he doesn't want to support these new clean energy policies, but you can look at his home state and it's not happening there," said Anderson. "The continued reliance on coal waste is just costing ratepayers more money so it's pretty hard to justify. Which makes the fact that he is still making money off of coal more concerning."

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