Joe Manchin’s Ties to Fossil Fuels Run Deeply into His Pockets

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Climate & Environment

Joe Manchin in Senate hearing.

Joe Manchin’s Ties to Fossil Fuels Run Deeply into His Pockets

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Climate & Environment

Joe Manchin in Senate hearing.
With Joe Manchin responsible for blocking key climate provisions in Build Back Better as well as the final bill, people will find it enlightening to see just how deeply embedded he is with the coal industry.

This article is republished with permission from Documented, by Nick Surgey. [Originally posted last year before Joe Manchin killed off any hope of passing the Build Back Better bill, Factkeepers is republishing it now to refresh people’s awareness of the depth of Machin’s corruption.]

Anyone even vaguely following the will they/won’t they drama of the Build Back Better negotiations, will know that Senator Joe Manchin is widely viewed as responsible for blocking significant programs to tackle climate change. Specifically, he’s credited with killing the inclusion of the widely-touted clean energy provisions.

There has been significant reporting in recent weeks about Manchin’s financial ties to the coal industry. See Joe Manchin’s Dirty Energy by Daniel Boguslaw writing for The Intercept.

The quick version is that Manchin is the founder and part-owner of a West Virginia coal brokerage company called Enersystems. He received a salary of $174,000 from the Senate in 2020, but last year he got so much more than that – $491,949 – from Enersystems, according to his financial disclosures.

Manchin has said that his ownership of Enersystems is held in a blind trust. Despite that, his coal industry profits are pretty obvious. Sludge tallied up those disclosures, and Manchin has earned more than $5.2m from Enersystems since he joined the Senate in 2010.

Manchin also has significant investments in another company, Farmington Resources, which owns some coal reserves and provides support services to the mining industry, according to The Intercept.

On an investor call last week, Joe Craft, the CEO of Alliance Resource Partners spoke about Manchin’s help for the coal industry during the Build Back Better negotiations.

Documented has now learned that Manchin was listed as a keynote speaker at a September 2021 secret invite-only meeting with the CEOs of numerous coal companies, including Joe Craft of Alliance Resource Partners.

We reached out for comment from Manchin’s office, asking them to confirm his appearance and disclose what was discussed at the event. As of publication we have not received a response despite multiple requests for comment.

The 2021 Coal and Investment Leadership Forum

Documented has obtained materials from an annual elite-level coal industry event, called the Coal and Investment Leadership Forum, which took place from September 19-21, 2021. The annual event is billed as “a private, invitation-only conference focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing coal and energy around the globe today.”

2021 Coal & Investment Leadership Forum Agenda. Obtained by Documented

The forum takes place annually in Bristol, Virginia, at an exclusive golf resort owned by Jim McGlothlin of United Coal Company. The Olde Farm also holds an annual golf tournament, “featuring three days of Ryder Cup-style competition with a Civil War theme.” “It has become our most cherished tradition,” McGlothlin told Links Magazine.

This year Manchin, along with fellow West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R), were described in an invitation obtained by Documented as being the event “headline” speakers.

Manchin is about as close to a rock star as you might find right now to coal CEOs, facing the inevitable end to their industry as we transition (oh too slowly) to clean energy.

Here is a video made by the Olde Farm for attendees previewing the event, obtained by Documented:

You can see the read the invitation and participant list here (click to see the full documents):

The CEOs of 21 coal industry companies were listed as participants. According to the materials, the full list of event hosts were: Michael Beyer of Vista Energy Resources, Jimmy Brock of CNX Coal Resources, Joe Craft III of Alliance Resource Partners, Nathaniel Drummond, Richard Mullen, and Mike Tracy of Drummond, John Eaves and Paul Lang of Arch Coal, Jim McGlothlin of The United Company, Mike Quillen of Alpha Natural Resources, David Stetson of Alpha Metallugial Resources, and Ernie Thrasher of Xcoal Energy Resources.

Also scheduled to speak was the notorious climate change denier Chris Horner. In 2016, bankruptcy filings for Alpha Natural Resources, one of the coal companies hosting this year’s forum, revealed Horner was secretly being paid by the company. Horner is best known for his repetitive targeting of climate scientists with lawsuits, a practice that has been described as “harassment.”

As a 2015 Grist article described it: “One of Horner’s preferred tactics is to inundate climate researchers with records requests so they get too bogged down with his bullshit to do actual work.” Horner has written a book called “Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed.”

Horner is listed on the agenda as leading a “legal discussion,” whatever that means.

According to the invitation, attendees had to cough up $7,000 just to get in, not including the cost of staying at the resort. An investment banker, Douglas Pierson of Credit Suisse, was on the list, along with Matthew Giugliano, Senior Vice President at UBS Private Wealth Management.

Andrew Frame, the Managing Director of Evercore, an investment banking advisory firm was also named. Evercore, which had $2.2 billion in revenue in 2020, advises on mergers and acquisitions like the $14 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market by Amazon in 2017. It currently works for Murray Energy, advising the coal company as it navigates chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Manchin Attacks on Climate in the Build Back Better Plan

According to Coral Davenport of the New York Times, Manchin “effectively succeeded in stripping the bill of its most powerful climate change provision, a program that would have rapidly shut down coal and gas-fired power plants and replaced them with wind and solar power.”

The text of the Build Back Better plan, revealed late last week by the White House, included $555 billion in tax credits and other grants aimed at cutting carbon emissions. According to the Washington Post, the tax credits will make it “easier to buy electric vehicles, install solar panels, retrofit buildings and manufacture wind turbines and other clean-energy equipment in the United States.

But entirely missing from the text was the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP.). The opposition from Senator Manchin is credited with having killed CEPP.

So what is CEPP you ask?

The Biden administration set an ambitious goal of decarbonizing 100 percent of the country’s electricity generation by the year 2035. This target is part of a longer term goal of becoming a net-zero economy by 2050. The Clean Electricity Performance Program, which was a part of the larger proposed $3.5 Trillion package, is (or I guess now “was”) a key element of the Administration’s plan for how to reach these goals. A version of CEPP passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in mid-September.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), CEPP would shift utilities away from the burning of coal and gas: “by making a $150 billion public investment over the coming decade in power companies that meet annual targets for expanding clean electricity. To ensure proper incentives and a level playing field, the CEPP also collects a payment from power companies that fail to meet those targets.”

This might all sound a little technical, and the acronyms probably don’t help. But the scientific consensus is that we urgently need to switch from burning fossil fuels to clean alternatives. CEPP would help turbo-charge that transition by pushing utilities to switch fast.

The clean energy target is not just good policy, it’s also politically popular. According to Data for Progress, 62 percent of voters “support the government moving the country to a 100 percent clean energy electricity grid by 2035.” That’s 62 percent of all voters combined. For Democrats that number is a whopping 85 percent.

Data for Progress polling of support for the 2035 Clean Energy Standard

Data for Progress polling of support for the 2035 Clean Energy StandardUnfortunately, it might be both good policy and good politics, but tackling climate change is definitely unpopular with coal CEOs, climate deniers, and anyone else making bucket loads of cash from the coal industry. And that, according to his own financial disclosures, includes Senator Joe Manchin.



Documented is an investigative watchdog and journalism project committed to holding the powerful interests that undermine our democracy accountable.

We believe that hard-hitting, investigative journalism is needed now more than ever.

Corporations and wealthy donors have far too much power and influence in our political and justice systems. Profits and shareholders are too often put ahead of everyday people. The very real and urgent dangers of climate change are being downplayed or ignored. Our democracy itself is under attack.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Sep 22 2022

New York’s Lawsuit Against Donald Trump — A Tax Lawyer Explains What’s at Stake

While the New York Attorney General’s massive lawsuit against Donald Trump, his children and companies is a civil suit, it marks a beginning and an acceleration...
Sep 21 2022

How Privatization and Corruption Magnified Puerto Rico’s Vulnerability to Hurricanes

Still recovering from the 2017 disaster of Hurricane Maria, which killed 3000 Americans in Puerto Rico, the islands have been blacked again out by much smaller...
Sep 17 2022

What Is Behind the Diminishing Trust in Government Institutions?

Our government institutions are the glue that actually holds our society together and keep things rolling. What happens when that glue stops sticking?
Sep 15 2022

The Sacklers and Purdue Pharma Were Not Alone in Creating and Profiting From the Opioid Crisis

The Sacklers became the public face of the opioid crisis despite not being the only players. They were the first to hypermarket opioids and then led the pack in blaming...
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) speaks during an April 6, 2022 press conference at the U.S. Capitol. Gottheimer is among the nearly 100 members of U.S. Congress whose ownership or trading of financial assets overlapped with their committee work. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Sep 14 2022

Conflict of Interest: Members of Congress Trading Stocks

We need more action on legislation that would ban Congressional stock trading. And fewer members of Congress in violation of the rules already on the books.
Sep 13 2022

The Tax Money Sinkhole That Is the American Weapons Industry

Military contractors and arms manufacturers and other weapons industry players cash in as Congress adds billions to the Pentagon budget each year.
Sep 12 2022

How Politics Endangered Public Health and Covid Care in Montana

A year after COVID-19 had first ripped through the United States, Republican lawmakers in Montana passed the nation’s most extreme anti-vaccination law. Not even nurses...
Visitors on a bridge over the South Yuba River. A 2017 atmospheric river event across Northern California brought rain in quantities equal to those in a megaflood scenario, but the fact that it fell over 80 days prevented a thousand-year event.(California Department of Water Resources)
Sep 12 2022

Climate Change and the Increasing Probabilities of a Megaflood

As historic floods beset several states, a new study finds that warming could make a California “megaflood” more dangerous, and likely, than previously...
Volunteers distributed bottled water after Jackson, Mississippi’s water treatment plant failed during flooding in August 2022. Brad Vest/Getty Images
Sep 10 2022

Climate Change Is Battering America’s Aging Infrastructure

The consequences of inadequate infrastructure maintenance are compounded by climate change, which is accelerating failures with increased flooding, extreme heat and...
Sep 07 2022

New Mexico Judge Banishes Trump Ally Couy Griffin From Office for Insurrection

In what may be the first use of the 14th Amendment’s Section 3 disqualification clause, Otero County New Mexico County Commissioner and Cowboys for Trump founder...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This