Joe Manchin’s ties to Big Oil are under scrutiny after the chief of staff leaves for business with his lobbying group

Joe Manchin’s links to the oil and gas industry no secret. The West Virginia senator is among the leading recipients of donations from fossil fuel companies in Congress and still has significant interests in a coal brokerage company he co-founded. now belongs to your son.

But those ties were re-examined after it was announced on Friday that chief of staff Lance West was leaving office for the top lobbying post at the American Petroleum Institute, a group that represents oil and gas interests.

“Lance is joining API at a critical time for our industry,” API president and CEO Mike Sommers said in a statement. axis.

“His location on Capitol Hill has placed him at the center of some of the more important legislative debates in our country, and his deep relationships on both sides of the aisle will be a tremendous asset to our organization and the industry we serve,” the statement said.

The move of one of Mr. Manchin’s closest advisers has been viewed as further evidence of the oil and gas industry’s influence on Congress.

This Washington Post described as “[m]The ore evidence of the revolving door phenomenon on Capitol Hill” – a reference to the widespread practice of lobbying groups hiring the staff of politicians they have formerly lobbied for, and vice versa.

According to data compiled by OpenSecrets, more than 60 The percentage of oil and gas lobbyists working in Washington, DC have previously worked in a capacity for the federal government.

Last year, the door was turned the other way when Mr. Manchin arrived. was hired Natural gas industry lobbyist CJ Osman of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America will serve on the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. that chair.

As a former governor and current senator second largest Manchin, a coal-producing state in the country, has always defended his support of the oil and gas industry, which is vital to the interests of its constituents.

But it has come under criticism in his own party due to its ties to industry and the fact that it has repeatedly blocked laws designed to reduce the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels to reduce the impact of climate change.

Mr Manchin was the Democrats’ last stand at a turning point Last year’s $369 billion climate and energy packageand after securing several major concessions for the fossil fuel industry, he joined with his colleagues to cast the critical vote in the one-seat Senate majority.

Announcing the agreement signed in July last year, Manchin said, “We must stop pretending that there is only one way to combat global climate change or achieve America’s energy independence.”

“As the world’s superpower, it is vital that we do not undermine our superpower status by eliminating reliable and affordable fossil fuel energy before new technologies are ready to reliably carry the load,” he added.

During these negotiations, Democratic senator Bernie Sanders accused Mr. Manchin of sabotaging the climate change bill.

“Not Democrats. Not the president. The future of the planet. So when Manchin sabotages climate change, it’s for future generations,” he said. A B C.

“We’re looking at what’s going on in the West right now, all over the world, it’s increased significantly, more and more heatwaves, more droughts, more floods. This is an existential threat to humanity,” he added.

There is no allegation that Mr. Manchin has broken any laws regarding his positions in the Senate to support fossil fuel companies.

API, a powerful lobbying group for the oil and gas industry among members of Shell, Exxon, Chevron and BP, has been accused of misleading the public about the climate. The group has also been the subject of many lawsuits, including lawsuits by the state of Minnesota, regarding alleged deception.

case accused API has been a member of “at least five organizations that promote disinformation to consumers about fossil fuel products.”

Senator Manchin’s office and API did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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