Manchin prepares to make or break Biden’s climate promise

President BidenJoe Biden US Bishops To Consider Whether Biden Should Receive Communion Barrels Of Congress Towards Year-End Clash Biden Turns On Former New Orleans Mayor Landrieu To Lead Infrastructure MOREThe commitment at the Glasgow climate summit to help reduce methane emissions by 30 percent over the next nine years faces a significant hurdle from Sen. Joe manchinJoe Manchin Congress Moves Toward Year-End Slump Inflation Increases Focus On Biden’s Fed Election Biden’s Spending Bill Will Likely Slip Through Senate After House Delays MORE (DW.Va.), which could embarrass the administration if it rejects a proposal to tax methane.

The methane tariff was rumored to have been removed from the reconciliation package and from Democratic senators like the chairman of the Senate Public Works and Environment Committee. Tom carperThomas (Tom) Richard Carper To Counter Racial Politics, Congress Must Protect Federal Voting Rights Of All Democrats Step Up Obstruction Talks After Voting Rights Setback The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented By ExxonMobil – Democrats Ask What went wrong on Election Day MORE (D-Del.) They have redoubled their efforts to include it.

But there is no deal yet, and Manchin cautions that he will not support anything that penalizes the oil and natural gas industries.

Democratic lawmakers saw a methane emissions tax as potentially easier to pass through the Senate than a carbon emissions tax, but now it appears that including any of the proposals in the Build Back Better Act will be a big effort because of Manchin.

Policy experts and Democratic aides in Congress warn that Biden will lose credibility on climate change with world leaders if he cannot overcome Manchin’s skepticism about methane taxes.

“It would be completely embarrassing for Biden if someone from his own party blocked a major initiative he just announced. It would undermine America’s global position and just create problems down the road, ”said Darrell West, vice president for governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

West noted that the United States lost credibility in the international fight against climate change when President TrumpDonald Trump Stoltenberg Says The Jan. 6 Siege Was An Attack On “ NATO Core Values ​​” Christie Says Her Only Regret About Preparing Trump’s Debate Is Catching The COVID Woman Who Invaded The Sea- a-Lake Trump deported to China MORE withdrew the nation from the Paris climate accord, which President ObamaBarack Hussein Obama Climate emergency is causing widespread anxiety among youth Inflation poses new challenges for progressives Healthcare overnight – Presented by Rare Access Action Project – Biden reveals FDA choice MORE signed in 2016.

“Allies wonder about America’s global leadership when presidents make promises but can’t keep them. It calls into question the governance of the United States and the ability to deliver on promises, “he added.

In Glasgow, Biden and EU Commission Head Ursula von der Leyen announced a global partnership to reduce methane gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

Biden warned that methane is “one of the most powerful greenhouse gases out there.”

When Senate negotiators withdrew the $ 150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program from the budget reconciliation package due to opposition from Manchin, pro-environmental progressives like Sen. Sheldon whitehouseSheldon Whitehouse, former Georgia Senator Max Cleland, dies at 79. (DR.I.) identified a carbon tax and a methane tax as two proposals that could offset the loss of CEPP.

Edward Parson, faculty director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles, said Biden has a lot at stake with his promise of methane.

“It is very important to the influence and credibility of the United States internationally and any objective of the United States to play something like a leadership role,” he said.

Parson, however, said that Biden does not have to rely entirely on Congress to reduce methane emissions significantly.

“Methane is actually quite a convenient and easy control object. And while the tax in the House conciliation bill would help, it is not necessary. The methane sources are similar enough in their particular activities that emissions can be controlled quite effectively through regulations, which in fact the EPA just did, ”he said.

Environmental Protection Agency acting air chief Joe Goffman announced in Glasgow on Thursday that the agency will strengthen its plan to address methane emissions from oil and gas producers, promising a “supplemental proposal.”

But Democratic advisers say legislative action on methane is crucial to guarding against a future Republican president rolling back methane regulations.

A Democratic Senate aide said that if Manchin overturns the methane tax proposal “it would be an embarrassment to President Biden for sure.”

“For Biden to commit himself on the world stage after so much was done to undermine climate relations for the past four years when Trump was in office, and Joe Manchin then takes a step to undermine the president and his leadership, it would be an embarrassment to Joe Biden and it’s a disgrace for Joe Manchin, ”added the assistant.

Democratic lawmakers say the methane promise was one of the summit’s biggest breakthroughs and the stakes are high for them to deliver on Biden’s promise.

“One of the biggest outcomes of the conference was the global commitment on methane. I am very encouraged by that, ”said Rep. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), Who introduced legislation in March to reduce methane waste by US oil and gas producers.

“We are really going to have to take the real step for this to happen. Part of that will come from the Energy and Commerce Committee and part of it may come from a methane tax, but we will really have to use all the levers we can to make this possible, ”he said.

But aides familiar with the congressional negotiation on a methane tax say Manchin is now the only obstacle to passing it in the Senate.

Manchin told The Hill last month that he was concerned a tax could be used to put companies out of business. You want to make sure that a methane tax is structured in a way that incentivizes innovation and not just penalizes companies.

“You can’t use things like a hammer,” he warned. “You have to give an incentive to do the right thing. … The price of badly made methane is very damaging. It will not happen “.

The methane tax appeared to be on the cutting board a few weeks ago due to opposition from Manchin.

Reuters reported on October 25 that the methane tariff for oil and gas producers would “likely” be removed from the reconciliation package, citing two sources familiar with the negotiation.

That same day, Carper and other Democratic presidents, including the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee Wyden Sanders backs Kaiser Permanente workers ahead of Monday’s strike Record number of immigrants funneled into alternative detention programs Balance / Sustainability – Presented by Altria – River Thames comes to life MORE (D-Ore.) And Chairperson of the Senate Commerce Committee Mary CantwellMaria Elaine Cantwell Democrats haggle as deal comes into focus Democrats say they have a way to negotiate on climate provisions in spending bill Infrastructure bill boosts first responders, wildland firefighters MORE (D-Wash.) Met with Manchin to save the methane tax.

Carper told The Hill last week: “I think we are going in a pretty good direction. He’s alive and there’s a good heartbeat. “

In a statement to The Hill on Friday, Carper said he hopes significant methane legislation will be included in the reconciliation package.

“Our methane emissions reduction program is a smart and targeted approach to tackling wasteful pollution while creating jobs and strengthening our economy. I have been working with my colleagues to find a way forward and I am confident that we can achieve it at the finish line, “he said.

An aide familiar with the negotiations noted that prior to the Veterans Day recess, the House Rules Committee presented a draft of the Better Rebuild Act that included the methane tax and interpreted it as a sign that it has a good chance. to be included in the final package. .

However, the $ 1.75 trillion framework for the bill introduced by the White House on October 28 did not include the methane tax.

Alan Miller, who co-wrote a book with environmental activist Durwood Zaelke, entitled “Eliminate Climate Super Pollutants Now,” said the “recognition” at the Glasgow conference “that methane needs to be addressed separately and urgently is an achievement. significant in and of itself. “

He said that when he wrote the book in April there was not much focus “on the very powerful short-lived climate pollutants, particularly with regard to methane” and that it is a “big deal” that methane was at the center of COP26.

“It’s one of the iconic accomplishments that I believe Biden and [climate envoy John] Kerry deserves considerable credit, ”he said.

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