March 21, 2022
The Honorable Joe Manchin, III
United States Senator
306 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Manchin,
The Greenbrier River Watershed Association, founded in 1990, is one of the oldest watershed associations established in our state. Our board, representing almost 500 members, is reaching out to urge you to take action on the climate crisis.
Recently, you joined Secretary of the Interior, Debra Haaland on her visit to West Virginia. She visited the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, where she spoke on the importance of outdoor recreation economy, its impact on local communities and “connecting the public to nature”. Our watershed group speaks this same language. But you should have brought her just a little further over to the east, to see our beautiful Greenbrier River, the longest free flowing river left in the Eastern US, and then explained to her why you support the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s plans to bore under this special river. Show her the land that was taken unwillingly from its owners so private companies can export the gas. You would also see the current mudslides and erosion dumping mud into the streams.
Building new gas infrastructure, such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline will take years to come on line and won’t help the current crisis. It will only deepen global dependence on fossil fuels, further empowering Russia and damaging the climate. You recently stated “What we do know is that Russia has weaponized energy” and you “want to match it or be better than theirs” encouraging President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to ram completion of this pipeline through, which is only 55% complete. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proves that America must move swiftly to a clean energy economy that will lower costs, protect our national security, and secure our energy independence. In terms of long-term global political stability, the most important thing we can be doing is minimizing our contributions to climate disruption. This has been recognized repeatedly by the Pentagon, and requires investments in clean, renewable energy, not fossil fuels. It is unacceptable for you to lead us down this collision course with fossil fuels rather than put our transition to clean renewable energy onto a faster track.
Passing the climate provisions in the Build Back Better legislation as adopted by the House of Representatives would provide $555 billion for transitioning the United States economy to clean energy. According to Princeton University this investment in the U. S. economy would come close to achieving the 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as well as reducing premature deaths annually by 7,000 and reducing American household energy expenditures by $300 a year by 2030.
We know that clean, renewable energy produced right here at home is the path to true energy independence. Renewable energy jobs are booming while fossil fuel jobs are declining. West Virginia has to potential to become the state that provides a model for the future, for other states to look up to. Please lead us into a clean future.
Thank you for your consideration,
Greenbrier River Watershed Association
John J. Walkup III, President
Louanne Fatora, Coordinator