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Opinion: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin has found a commonsense path forward for West Virginia

Charles Parker

President

WV State Building and Construction Trades Council

West Virginians have been right to be worried about the future of jobs in our state as consumers across the country and around the world have begun to demand a lower-carbon future.  In response, companies everywhere have taken enormous steps to lower their carbon footprint by all possible means, even down to the very electricity they use to manufacture their products.

Charles Parker

Senator Joe Manchin has found a commonsense path forward for West Virginia that will save the state’s economy and create new jobs.  The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a gigantic win for West Virginia and for people who work for a living.

First, it will actually reduce inflation. Second, it saves senior citizens billions of dollars in prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices the same way the Veterans Administration already does.  And third, it ensures American energy independence with a responsible all-of-the-above approach.

But for the working men and women of West Virginia, it means jobs.  Lots of good jobs.  The people of this great state who build things will benefit for years to come.

This legislation will enable fossil fuels to be decarbonized in a way that finally makes financially commercial sense.  The infrastructure necessary to do that will support construction jobs for people across the entire region in millions of construction hours.

Our increasing dependence on foreign energy and supply chains from countries who hate America must stop.  This legislation will bring living wage energy and manufacturing jobs back to America.  The United States and West Virginia will continue to lead the global stage on energy. 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 invests in the technologies needed for all fuel types: fossil fuels, hydrogen, nuclear, renewables, and energy storage – all that can be produced and used in the cleanest way possible.

The technology is already available to do all of this.  The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 brings together the final pieces necessary for that technology to be put to work.

This legislation will create new jobs in the energy sector by unlocking tax credits for rural cooperatives and power utilities.  It increases the value of the existing 45Q carbon capture tax credits which will see new construction projects across America and right here in West Virginia.  And for the first time, it provides incentives for energy storage and hydrogen.

But beyond the energy sector, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 also creates opportunities for existing manufacturing companies to help them reduce greenhouse gases and make them more competitive around the world.  Each of these innovations will create jobs through new construction and updated equipment installation.

There will be some against this bill.  Drug companies will make slightly less money because they will no longer be able to arbitrarily hike prices.  Corporate tax evaders will finally be made to pay a minimum of 15%.  So, there will be millions spent on advertisements by these groups “explaining” why this bill is bad for West Virginia.  But they do not represent the best interests of our great state.

Senator Manchin has been consistent in looking for a way to lower inflation and protect West Virginia jobs. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will do just that.

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