FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 28, 2022
Contact: Contact: Dana Kuhnline, Dana@ReImagineAppalachia.org, 304-825-3262
Members of the West Virginia Climate Alliance Respond to News of Climate Reconciliation Deal
CHARLESTON, WV – In response to news of a deal on reconciliation between Senators Schumer and Manchin, members and allies of the West Virginia Climate Alliance have provided early responses to the components of the bill shared late last night. These reflections come as Central Appalachia faces yet another catastrophic flooding event, in Eastern Kentucky and Southwest Virginia, on the heels of recent flooding in McDowell County.
Angie Rosser, Executive Director, West Virginia Rivers Coalition:
“It’s very encouraging to see solid agreement around sensible ways to lower energy costs and meet science-based emissions reduction benchmarks to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. We appreciate Senator Manchin’s commitment to see this legislation passed to ensure West Virginians don’t miss out on the benefits of these investments.”
Rev. Jeffrey Allen, Executive Director, West Virginia Council of Churches:
“The flooding in West Virginia and surrounding states is a reminder that climate change is here today and is having an impact on people in West Virginia and around the world. The legislation announced by Senator Manchin is a huge step forward for our country’s efforts in addressing climate change and may well be a hallmark of this generation. This bill also helps our neighbors through the ACA subsidies and the Medicare Part D drug plan changes.”
Holly Bradley, West Virginia Organizer for Chesapeake Climate Action Network:
“We wholeheartedly support the progress made on this bill, but let’s be clear the fight is not over. We can celebrate what has been accomplished today and recognize the work that still needs to be done moving forward. The current flooding in West Virginia and Kentucky highlight the urgency of the climate emergency we are now facing. There’s no time to go on recess, let’s get this through the finish line.”
Rev. Robin Blakeman, West Virginia Interfaith Power and Light Steering Committee Member:
“I am glad that Senator Manchin is engaging in serious discussion about the critical needs of our nation. I hope he will accept provisions in this new plan that mandate serious steps towards greenhouse gas emission reductions, and energy transition to truly sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. Addressing the urgency of climate change is key to ensuring survival of our society and economy.”
Allen Johnson, Coordinator, Christians For The Mountains:
“We support this proposal that is forward on addressing climate, while we will oppose any provisions that are detrimental to any West Virginian communities if included as a trade-off. Looking forward, we’ll continue to work for environmental justice for all West Virginians in the state.”
Rick Wilson, Program Director, American Friends Service Committee:
“Over the last year, many West Virginians worked hard to push a reconciliation bill across the line. While the outlines of the potential deal are not as bold as many hoped in addressing family economic security, we are optimistic and relieved to learn that an agreement on addressing climate change is within reach and appreciate protections for health care. The provisions in this bill will have tremendous benefits for the children and families in the Mountain State. Looking forward, we will continue to work with the Senator to ensure that components not included in the package, such as the Child Tax Credit, are enacted to provide even more support for West Virginia’s families and children.”
Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Manager for ReImagine Appalachia:
“We’re very pleased to see the permanent restoration of the black lung excise tax at the higher, historic rate. So much of this proposal is good for Appalachia–we need the tools to create new jobs, address the climate crisis, and support struggling Appalachian communities. Appalachia has been hit hard both by climate change impacts and global energy shifts. Coal helped Appalachia power the country, and now we need to look to the future by putting our people back to work generating clean, homegrown energy.
Recent flooding events underscore the urgency of passing this bill. Our leaders must invest more cost-effective long-term solutions over incremental repairs. Appalachian communities know how to come together after a climate emergency – and we know we do better when our communities have the resources we need to thrive. This bill contains solutions not only to prevent worsening climate change, but to help our communities rebuild.
Reconciliation offers a once-in-a-generation chance to deliver shared prosperity to Appalachia – and the entire United States. We’re ready to do what it takes to rebuild our communities and jumpstart the brighter future Appalachia deserves.”
Linda Frame, President, West Virginia Environmental Council:
“While it is unclear how close we are to the finish line on these negotiations, we are guardedly optimistic about this breakthrough on climate legislation talks. With many regions of our country either on fire or underwater, including deadly flooding impacting our Kentucky neighbors, we need to sprint to that finish line. The strongest budget reconciliation bill needs to emerge in order to best protect our planet from further climate catastrophes.”