According to a new report by The Intercept, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) and his wife, Gayle, have funneled millions of dollars in federal environmental funding to an area where the couple owns a home.
Manchin and his wife own a condominium in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, a pristine wilderness refuge that houses one of the largest inland wetlands in the United States. The couple purchased the property in 2018, and since then the senator has directed millions of dollars in federal money to fund projects that specifically bolster the Canaan Valley region.
Gayle Manchin, the senator’s wife, was appointed by President Joe Biden in 2021 to head the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which works to improve the quality of life for those who live in Appalachia. West Virginia’s Canaan Valley is part of the region overseen by the ARC.
Since taking the helm of the Commission, Gayle Manchin has directed $25,000 in federal grant money for a water analysis in the Canaan Valley region, while at the same time her husband has used his position as a US Senator to earmark $8 million to build a new water treatment facility there. Additionally, Gayle Manchin also secured $1.2 million in federal funding through the ARC to improve trails in the valley.
The report comes on the heels of Manchin effectively sinking President Biden’s spending bill last week, refusing to support the climate change and energy investments for which he had previously signaled support. Manchin cited concerns about inflation and higher taxes.
Some Canaan Valley residents have expressed their disdain for Manchin’s political moves in the area. Dave Scott, a political activist and resident, told The Intercept, “Canaan Valley is aptly named because it is absolutely just a breathtaking place. For Manchin to go to a place where I find peace, to this protected space, a place that was protected in the spirit of preservation, and siphon off a little piece for himself — it’s disgusting.”
Scott continued, “He’s turned the rest of a state we used to call ‘almost heaven’ into almost hell. He opened up the mountaintops, the old mine shafts; he opened up the underground strata for more leaching and more fracking. When he became governor, he even tried to change our slogan from ‘Wild and Wonderful’ to ‘Open for Business.’”
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