Manchin blocked Build Back Better to shield his dirty coal empire – National & International News – TUE 31May2022



Manchin blocked Build Back Better to shield dirty coal money. Congress weighs gun control action. Canada proposes freeze on handgun purchases.




Manchin blocked Build Back Better to shield dirty coal money

During negotiations for the $1 trillion hard infrastructure packaged passed last fall, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) used his influence as the chair of the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to ensure that some of that money would find its way into his own bank account. Four provisions Manchin fought to include in the infrastructure bill direct millions in taxpayer dollars to companies in the waste coal industry. One such company is Enersystems, currently run by Manchin’s son. Sen. Manchin himself owns about $5 million worth of Enersystem stock and receives about $500,000 annually.

One of Enersystem’s lucrative enterprises involves supplying waste coal to the last powerplant in the state of West Virginia that burns gob, the dirtiest type of waste coal, for power. That powerplant is located in Grant Town, WV, a town of just 613 people according to the 2010 census. At every step of his rise to power, first as a West Virginia State Senator, then as Governor, then as a US Senator, Manchin has used his influence to enrich himself by poisoning locals and price gouging residents in the surrounding area who depend on the Town plant for electricity.

Burning gob creates high levels of sulfur dioxide, a poisonous toxin. As one resident put it, the plant has “poisoned our water; it’s poisoned our air; it’s poisoned our citizens; and Joe’s made money off of it”.

By blocking the Build Back Better plan and its climate provisions, Manchin ensured that the Grant Town plant can continue burning gob and charging higher rates to its customers than plants using cleaner energy sources.

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For a 4- minute video on Manchin’s corruption, click here.


Congress weighs gun control action

After the school massacre in Uvalde, TX, members of Congress are once again taking up the gun control question. House Democrats are bringing eight gun control measures to the floor next week, under the collective banner of the Protecting Our Kids Act. However, these measures will likely meet a wall of resistance in the Senate due to the Republican filibuster.

In the Senate, one Republican (Sen. John Cornyn of Texas) and one Democrat (Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut) are seeking a gun control compromise that members of both parties can live with. Murphy and Cornyn now have the sad distinction of representing the two states with the most deadly and second-most deadly school shootings in US history. In December 2012, twenty children and six staff members were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Murphy was then a newly-elected Senator from Connecticut, assuming office in 2013. Since then, Murphy has been one of the most dogged voices in Congress for common sense gun control measures.



Canada: Trudeau proposes freeze on handgun purchases

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has proposed legislation that would halt all new purchases, transfers, and imports of handguns in the country. The proposal would also launch a mandatory buyback for banned military style long-guns (like AR-15s). Owners of other types of long-guns would also have to make modifications so that the weapons will hold a maximum of 5 rounds.

Trudeau’s party and allies likely have the votes to pass the legislation. Canada does not have any constitutional guarantees regarding possession of firearms by private citizens.

Such tight prohibitions could have the effect of expanding the black market for guns in Canada. While the proposal includes a ban on importing guns and increases penalties for smuggling, these can be difficult to enforce. Currently, more than 80% of guns used in homicides in Canada were traced back to the US.

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