Committee Chair Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) arrives for a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup on nominations in Dirksen Building on November 2, 2021. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

'Enough Is Enough': Sunrise Movement Confronts Manchin on Climate Policy Outside His Yacht

"One sad, greedy man, cannot stand in the way of lifesaving climate legislation."

Over a hundred climate activists confronted Sen. Joe Manchin outside his Washington, D.C. houseboat on Thursday to protest the West Virginia Democrat's obstruction of climate policy in the Build Back Better Act.

The activists from the youth climate group Sunrise Movement, some who have been participating in a hunger strike to demand a $3.5 trillion climate and jobs package, corralled around Manchin as he walked to his parking garage from his yacht to leave for a committee meeting.


Referencing Manchin's significant ties to the fossil fuel industry, the activists demanded President Joe Biden and the Democratic leadership remove him as chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

"It is egregious and completely unacceptable that Joe Manchin, who has profited millions of dollars from his family's own fossil fuel firm, is in charge of creating consequential climate agenda," said Lauren Maunus, advocacy director of Sunrise Movement. "Manchin must be immediately removed as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee."

As Common Dreams reported in October, Manchin has accepted $400,000 from fossil fuel industry PACs and executives in the last quarter alone, making him Congress' top recipient of oil and gas donations this election cycle. Manchin has made a fortune from his family's coal empire, raking in a total of $5.2 million since joining the Senate in 2010.

The confrontation comes as Manchin continues to stall progress on the reconciliation package, demanding reductions in climate spending.

In addition to calls to remove Manchin from his leadership position, Sunrise Movement activists called on Biden and the Democratic Party to fight back against special interests and immediately pass a Build Back Better Act that meets the scale of the climate emergency.

"Our lives are worth more than [Manchin's] coal money," said Kidus Girma, a climate hunger striker. "We'll keep fighting until President Biden, Joe Manchin, and Democrats pass a climate and jobs package that meets the moment of the climate crisis. One sad, greedy man, cannot stand in the way of life saving climate legislation. Enough is enough."

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