The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org
A couple weeks ago, the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry and Natural Resources held its first hearing in nine years about the worsening drought crisis fueled by climate change. In a preview of the hearing, Senator Michael Bennet said to the Washington Post, “Colorado is literally being incinerated as a result of climate change.”
As I noted after that hearing, rural communities are facing some of the most dramatic impacts from climate change, yet often lack access to resources for resilience and mitigation planning. This is obviously a major concern for farmers, but the damage brought by drought, violent storms, rising temperatures, and megafires have an outsized impact on all people living in rural areas.
Across rural America, communities are struggling to deal with the impacts of our changing climate and need federal legislation to help. But, yesterday, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin slammed the door on that possibility.
For whatever reasons, Manchin has again put his own personal politics above the needs of his constituents, his country, and the planet. And, new research released by Headwaters Economics found that West Virginia was one of 10 states with the most limited capacity to deal with infrastructure and climate resilience projects. It’s beyond appalling. It’s life threatening. But, Manchin has no shame, obviously.
President Biden now needs to use all of his executive authority to literally help save the planet. Rural Americans, like the rest of the country and the world, desperately need that leadership.
“The mission of RuralOrganizing.org is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.”