West Virginia politicians double down on fossil fuels as Ukraine crisis escalates

West Virginia politicians double down on fossil fuels as Ukraine crisis escalates

With President Joe Biden having banned Russian oil and gas imports in response to the invasion of Ukraine, proponents of green energy are arguing that the Ukraine crisis makes a strong case for the United States going greener. But in West Virginia, according to Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Mike Tony, officials have been doubling down on fossil fuels — including Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat, and Republican Gov. Jim Justice.

Manchin, according to Tony, is “among the members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation supporting a buildout of infrastructure for gas and oil extraction.”

“Critics say that move would deepen U.S. energy vulnerability to the volatility of the global oil market and miss an opportunity to embrace renewable energy,” Tony reports. “Russia’s war on Ukraine has pushed the United States and its allies in Europe towards an energy crossroads.”

On March 11, Justice, according to Tony, “questioned the reality of climate change despite clear scientific evidence proving the phenomenon threatening 21st Century livability on the planet is human-driven and real.”

Justice described nuclear power and green energy — including wind and solar energy — as “the parsley around the sides of the plate,” adding, “The meat and potatoes are gas, our oil and our coal.”

Manchin’s hostility to green energy was also evident when, on Monday, March 14, he announced that he would not vote to confirm Sarah Bloom Raskin — President Joe Biden’s nominee for vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The key reason, according to Axios, was Raskin’s views on climate change and support of green energy; she wasn’t pro-fossil fuels enough for the West Virginia senator.

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