Energy & Environment

Manchin says ‘good adjustments’ have been made on Democrats’ methane fee 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) expressed some degree of openness to the latest iteration of Democrats’ proposed program to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector on Wednesday, telling reporters that “good adjustments” have been made.

“They’re working through that. I think they made some good adjustments on it,” said Manchin, a key Senate swing vote, when asked about the program. 

But he suggested that some aspects of the program are still under discussion. 

“You’ve got to do one of two things. Do you want basically different things through regulations as far as EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], or do you want money? If they’re basically complying with the regulations, then you shouldn’t be subject to a fee, so we’re talking about different things like that,” Manchin said. 

Methane is a planet-warming gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. In 2019, they made up about 10 percent of the country’s contribution to climate change. 

Democrats have proposed a fee under which oil and gas companies would be fined for their excess emissions of the gas in their climate and social spending bill. 

But after objections from Manchin and some House members, the program that eventually passed was modified to also include grants and loans aimed at helping industry reduce its emissions. 

It’s not clear whether any additional changes to the program have been negotiated since the House’s passage of the bill. 

This program is one of the major climate components in the bill. Democrats said last week that it was still being discussed.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) at the time expressed confidence that lawmakers ultimately will “put the ball in the end zone.”

Carper, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, also said he had “very constructive” conversations with Manchin.

Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote because of the Senate’s 50-50 split. 

After opposition from Manchin, they previously cut a program that would have used grants and fees to incentivize the country’s electric providers to switch to clean energy sources. 

The senator has also recently been critical of a tax credit that provides an additional incentive for electric vehicles made by unionized workforces, leaving the provision’s future uncertain.

Tags Joe Manchin Tom Carper

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