Mitch McConnell defends coal mining bill

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

By The New York Times – Nov 16, 2017

Gov. John W. Manchin, D-W.Va., had worked for four years to forge a bipartisan agreement that would allow him to work with legislative leaders to tackle a growing challenge to the United States’ fossil fuel industry — mountaintop removal coal mining.

Now that the bill is dead and the man who helped bring it together, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., stands in its place. He doesn’t want voters to see any of the money his conference is leaving in the state’s general fund for coal mining projects.

“You can be sure that we’re not going to do that,” Mr. McConnell said in a late-night interview with The Washington Post in which he defended the bill.

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Gov. John W. Manchin, D-W.Va., had worked for four years to forge a bipartisan agreement that would allow him to work with legislative leaders to tackle a growing challenge to the United States’ fossil fuel industry — mountaintop removal coal mining.

The Republican leader said in a statement that he had “no choice” but to veto the bill after the Senate adjourned for the year.

“The bill will not receive a vote, and any funds to the private industry will be put into the state’s General Fund,” he said.

The $3.5 million in annual revenue would not have supported the bill. But it was a bargain for Mr. McConnell, who had promised to pass a bill to support clean energy and reduce the carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming in the Senate chamber, and Mr. Manchin, who had lobbied the bill’s sponsors in the Senate and House to get the bipartisan support.

Mr. McConnell said in the interview that he was “absolutely shocked” that a “major bipartisan deal for the first time in the modern era” had broken down.

“I’m not saying that every agreement breaks up,” he said. “These are deals that end up lasting too long.�

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