Is Manchin any more corrupt than the rest of Congress?

The power plant that buys coal from Sen. Joe Manchin’s company is fighting to stay open by generating electricity for cryptocurrency mining after being on the brink of economic collapse for years.

The plan would ensure that the plant keeps burning some of the dirtiest coal on the market, and continue a lucrative business for Manchin’s family company that sells waste fuel collected at shuttered mines…

That could preserve a large portion of Manchin’s personal income. His company, Enersystems, supplies the plant with nearly all of the gob, or waste coal, it uses for electricity generation from large piles of discarded shale, clay and slurry dug out from two nearby coal mines that closed years ago.

Manchin has collected more than $5 million from Enersystems since he was elected to the Senate in 2010, according to financial disclosure documents. His stock in the company is worth up to another $5 million…

“You have Joe Manchin talking about how utilities are already moving toward clean energy so he doesn’t want to support these new clean energy policies, but you can look at his home state and it’s not happening there,” said Dave Anderson, policy and communications manager for the Energy and Policy Institute. “The continued reliance on coal waste is just costing ratepayers more money so it’s pretty hard to justify. Which makes the fact that he is still making money off of coal more concerning.”…

Manchin is not the first lawmaker to vote on a bill that could affect their personal finances, said Richard Painter, the former chief ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush…

But Manchin’s position as a deal breaker for a provision that could affect his personal income is “terrible for the reputation of our representative democracy,” Painter said.

“They put Manchin in a unique situation, he has this deciding vote, and if there are provisions in there that help his company and he makes those provisions into deal breakers, at a certain point you get close to the bribery statute,” Painter said.

RTFA. Enough detail, answers and explanations to make a stone gargoyle puke on a church.

Flames and Fury

Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg

Tom Houghton (Media editor)

Despite the abundance of incredible photography that has crossed my desk this year, I struggle to think of a moment more moving than the one captured by Bloomberg photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis on the island of Evia, Greece. This woman’s anguish as the raging wildfire draws closer to her house is heartbreaking. The colour and composition reminds me of the painting The Scream by Edvard Munch. No matter how many times I look at it, it remains both beautiful and upsetting.

This was excerpted from “The Best Science Images of 2021”