At crux of climate action, Manchin drops the rope


By: Mario Molina

Photo by Micheli Oliver

Senator Manchin (WV) just blew the crux on what would have been the largest investment in a clean energy future and energy independence in history. Alongside an entrenched GOP, he also sunk US credibility in the world and confirmed the dysfunctionality of Congress in addressing our most pressing challenge. Like many of you in the outdoor community, I am—to put it simply—pissed off, at what one man’s snap decision means not only for our community, but for everything that lives downstream of a healthy snowpack.

Since last fall, POW, the POW Alliance and many of you have been pushing at every angle to get the largest climate effort of all time, fluctuating between $300 and $550 billion, stacked with meaningful programs and policies, across the line. An effort that would put us on track to meet the emissions reductions that scientists tell us must be hit. The POW Alliance, including Olympians, business leaders and top athletes, have been on Capitol Hill twice recently making an urgent case for passage of these programs.

By failing to see the difference between spending and investment, Senator Manchin is making a devastating mistake that will affect generations to come. It is scientifically uninformed, economically unwise, and shows that fossil fuel money continues to have undue influence over 51 senators on Capitol Hill. That influence is silencing what science and the outdoor community on both sides of the aisle are screaming out to be heard: we want immediate action to protect our environment and energy security. That’s a problem for our democracy.

So yes, as a dad, a snowboarder, climber, biker and the leader of Protect Our Winters, I’m angry today. But, I’m also more motivated than ever to continue to do the work. 

For anyone else needing a silver lining lately, it’s there if you look closely enough. Innovation in clean energy and electric transportation is quickly outpacing regulation and outcompeting fossil fuels. Individual states under the leadership of both liberals and conservatives are making economically and environmentally sound decisions where Congress and SCOTUS are failing to look after America’s best interests. So while we won’t get the investment boost from Congress, the market, states and localities will continue to drive the clean energy transition. 

There’s effective work that can be done in states where permitting, public-private partnerships and utility investments will continue ushering the transition. POW is positioned to empower the Outdoor State to advocate for state and local level work. The administration understands the urgency of this moment. Infrastructure funding passed last fall is going out to support a national EV charging network, to begin dire grid updates and clean up leaking oil wells. And we encourage and applaud any and all steps that it takes moving forward to make up for some of what these 51 Senators are negligently refusing to do. 

But we must win our democracy back from fossil fuel profits and ensure America’s energy security. We must elect leaders at every level of government, who are committed to take a stand for our forests, mountains, rivers and snowpack immediately. Leaders who care about America’s legacy and not the political winds of the week. 

We are not powerless. Pledge to vote, check your registration and get ready to join POW’s efforts to Stoke the Vote this fall ahead of the midterms. This is the crux of our generation. It will take all of us showing up, speaking out and yes, voting each and every time to meet it.

Belong to the solution, 

Mario Molina
Executive Director

Mario Molina

Author: Mario Molina

An avid alpinist, snowboarder, mountain biker, guide, and life adventurer, Molina previously served as international director at The Climate Reality Project, where he designed the organization’s climate leadership trainings and oversaw its post-Paris Agreement international strategy. Prior to his work at Climate Reality, Molina led strategy and programs as deputy director at the Alliance for […]