Archives for category: Environment

The Texas Public Policy Foundation was established in 1989 by wealthy Texans to promote charter schools. The charter lobby in Texas has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams in writing laws that favor the expansion of charter chains and shield them from accountability. Although it still pushes charter schools, the TPPF has turned its attention to fighting anything that threatens the dominance of the fossil fuel industry. The New York Times published a major exposé of the organization, its goals, and its funders: the oil and gas industry

When a lawsuit was filed to block the nation’s first major offshore wind farm off the Massachusetts coast, it appeared to be a straightforward clash between those who earn their living from the sea and others who would install turbines and underwater cables that could interfere with the harvesting of squid, fluke and other fish.

The fishing companies challenging federal permits for the Vineyard Wind project were from the Bay State as well as Rhode Island and New York, and a video made by the opponents featured a bearded fisherman with a distinct New England accent.

But the financial muscle behind the fight originated thousands of miles from the Atlantic Ocean, in dusty oil country. The group bankrolling the lawsuit filed last year was the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based nonprofit organization backed by oil and gas companies and Republican donors.

With influence campaigns, legal action and model legislation, the group is promoting fossil fuels and trying to stall the American economy’s transition toward renewable energy. It is upfront about its opposition to Vineyard Wind and other renewable energy projects, making no apologies for its advocacy work….

In Arizona, the Texas Public Policy Foundation campaigned to keep open one of the biggest coal-fired power plants in the West. In Colorado, it called for looser restrictions on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And in Texas, the group crafted the first so-called “energy boycott” law to punish financial institutions that want to scale back their investments in fossil fuel projects, legislation adopted by four other states.

At the same time, the Texas Public Policy Foundation has spread misinformation about climate science. With YouTube videos, regular appearances on Fox and Friends, and social media campaigns, the group’s executives have sought to convince lawmakers and the public that a transition away from oil, gas and coal would harm Americans.

They have frequently seized on current events to promote dubious narratives, pinning high gasoline prices on President Biden’s climate policies (economists say that’s not the driver) or claiming the 2021 winter blackout in Texas was the result of unreliable wind energy (it wasn’t).

They travel the nation encouraging state lawmakers to punish companies that try to reduce carbon emissions. And through an initiative called Life:Powered, the group makes what it calls “the moral case for fossil fuels,” which holds that American prosperity is rooted in an economy based on oil, gas and coal and that poor communities and developing nations deserve the same opportunities to grow….

James Leininger, who earned a fortune selling medical beds, founded Texas Public Policy Foundation in 1989 to promote charter schools. As it evolved, the organization embraced other causes including criminal justice, immigration, border security, taxes, and energy.

Mr. Leininger bankrolled Rick Perry’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2000, and Mr. Perry reciprocated by donating the proceeds of his 2010 book, “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” to the group. Other wealthy conservative donors began writing checks, including Tim Dunn, an oilman who is the vice chairman of the board.

Billionaire Tim Dunn is a major supporter of charters and vouchers. He is an evangelical Christian who wants students to have a Christian education. According to CNN, Dunn and his pal, fellow billionaire Farris Wilks, are focused on transforming education: “their ultimate goal is to replace public education with private, Christian schooling.”

When President Donald J. Trump tapped Mr. Perry in 2017 to serve as energy secretary, the group followed him to Washington, opening an office there and placing several senior officials inside the administration.

Mr. Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, a fellow at the foundation, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. Ms. White, who had once described believing in global warming as “a kind of paganism,” stumbled at a confirmation hearing, and the White House withdrew her nomination.

Susan Combs, another fellow at the group, became acting assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks at the Department of the Interior. Brooke Rollins, chief executive of the foundation, went to work at the White House.

Bernard McNamee, a onetime policy adviser to Senator Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican, joined the Department of Energy under Mr. Perry, then left for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, only to return to the Trump administration after a few months. Mr. McNamee is now a lawyerwho advises fossil fuel companies.

Douglas W. Domenech, who ran the foundation’s efforts to block the Obama administration from regulating emissions from power plants, became assistant secretary at the interior department. He was later found to have violated federal ethics rules by meeting with foundation officials, creating the appearance that he was working on behalf of a former employer.

As the organization’s profile grew, donations ballooned from $4.7 million in 2010 to $25.6 million in 2021, the most recent year for which records are available. That allowed the group to expand its mandate far beyond the Lone Star state.

The story says that the TPPF is not required to reveal the names of its donors.

But publicly available tax filings show that the group has received money from fossil fuel companies including the coal giant Peabody Energy, Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

The foundation has also received at least $4 million from conservative donors including Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch, according to public filings. Koch Industries owns oil refineries, petrochemical plants and thousands of miles of oil and gas pipelines, and the brothers have a long history of funding efforts to block climate action.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that Florida will withdraw $2 billion in investment funds from BlackRock because the firm abides by standards against racism and for environmental awareness. This sort of ethical investing is repulsive to Governor Ron DeSantis and the extremists in his government. Republicans usually represent and celebrate big corporations. But in the past decade, many Republicans have turned against the same corporations for what they call “woke capitalism.” That is, a number of big corporations have sought to placate their Black employees and customers, their LGBT+ employees and customers, and socially aware young people.

When corporations take stands on sensitive issues which make their employees and customers angry, hat’s “woke capitalism.” When they oppose hate laws and work to promote diversity and equity, that’s “woke capitalism.” The more they step up to support minority causes, the more they enrage reactionary Republicans like DeSantis.

Here is an example of Governor Ron DeSantis acting boldly to crush “woke capitalism.”

Florida will pull $2 billion from the largest asset-management firm in the world over ideological differences.

State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronisannounced Thursday that Florida will immediately freeze about $1.43 billion in long-term securities and about $600 million in short-term overnight investments managed by BlackRock because of the firm’s use of “Environmental, Social, and Governance” standards — known as ESG.

Patronis in a prepared statement said he doesn’t “trust BlackRock’s ability to deliver” and “BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is on a campaign to change the world.”

“Whether stakeholder capitalism, or ESG standards, are being pushed by BlackRock for ideological reasons, or to develop social credit ratings, the effect is to avoid dealing with the messiness of democracy,” Patronis said.

Republican leaders in Florida and across the country have targeted ESG ratings, which can involve considering a wide range of issues in investments, such as companies’ climate-change vulnerabilities; carbon emissions; racial inequality; product safety; supply-chain labor standards; privacy and data security; and executive compensation.

Patronis said the state Department of Financial Services oversees about $60 billion and that the money with BlackRock will be moved “elsewhere.”

“I think it’s undemocratic of major asset managers to use their power to influence societal outcomes,” Patronis said. “If Larry (Fink), or his friends on Wall Street, want to change the world — run for office. Start a non-profit. Donate to the causes you care about. Using our cash, however, to fund BlackRock’s social-engineering project isn’t something Florida ever signed up for.”

Fink is a leading proponent of ESG metrics. In a letter this year to corporate executives, Fink said companies using the standards are “performing better than their peers.”

“Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics,” Fink wrote. “It is not a social or ideological agenda. It is not ‘woke.’ It is capitalism, driven by mutually beneficial relationships between you and the employees, customers, suppliers, and communities your company relies on to prosper.”

BlackRock manages over $8 trillion in assets. They are unlikely to miss Florida’s $2 billion.

Elon Musk, the nation’s richest man, is heavily subsidized by taxpayers, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Musk’s net worth is somewhere about $210 billion. Yet he goes where the government money is.

Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space.

And he’s built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.

Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.

“He definitely goes where there is government money,” said Dan Dolev, an analyst at Jefferies Equity Research. “That’s a great strategy, but the government will cut you off one day.”

The figure compiled by The Times comprises a variety of government incentives, including grants, tax breaks, factory construction, discounted loans and environmental credits that Tesla can sell. It also includes tax credits and rebates to buyers of solar panels and electric cars.

A looming question is whether the companies are moving toward self-sufficiency — as Dolev believes — and whether they can slash development costs before the public largesse ends.

Tesla and SolarCity continue to report net losses after a decade in business, but the stocks of both companies have soared on their potential; Musk’s stake in the firms alone is worth about $10 billion. (SpaceX, a private company, does not publicly report financial performance.)

Musk and his companies’ investors enjoy most of the financial upside of the government support, while taxpayers shoulder the cost.

The payoff for the public would come in the form of major pollution reductions, but only if solar panels and electric cars break through as viable mass-market products. For now, both remain niche products for mostly well-heeled customers.

Musk declined repeated requests for an interview through Tesla spokespeople, and officials at all three companies declined to comment.

Thanks to our reader Joel for directing me to this story.

Ruth Marcus, deputy editor of the Washington Post editorial page, writes a warning: if you thought the Supreme Court’s decisions were bad last year, this year will be even worse. Their solid five votes of hard-right conservatives, occasionally teen forced by a sixth vote from Chief Justice John Roberts, has removed all constraint, any need to negotiate with their liberal colleagues. Mitch McConnell created the most conservative court in almost a century, with help from Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society. They seem determined to roll the clock back a century.

She writes:

Last term, in addition to overruling Roe v. Wade, the conservative majority expandedgun rights, imposed severe new constraints on the power of regulatory agencies and further dismantled the wall of separation between church and state….

If there was a question, at the start of that term, about how far and how fast a court with six conservatives would move, it was answered resoundingly by the time it recessed for the summer: “Very far, very fast,” said Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who served as solicitor general under President Barack Obama. “I hope the majority takes a step back and considers the risk that half the country may completely lose faith in the court as an institution.”

Maybe it will, but for now, the court is marching on toward fresh territory, taking on race, gay rights and the fundamental structures of democracy — this even as the shock waves of the abortion ruling reverberate through our politics and lower courts grapple with a transformed legal regime. And there’s every indication that the court intends to adopt changes nearly as substantial — and as long sought by conservatives — as those of last term…

In assembling its cases for the term, the conservative wing has at times displayed an unseemly haste — prodded by conservative activists who have seized on the opportunities presented by a court open to their efforts to reshape the law. The court reached out to decide a dispute about when the Clean Water Act applies to wetlands, even as the Environmental Protection Agency rewrites its rules on that very issue. It agreed to hear a wedding website designer’s complaint that Colorado’s law barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates her free speech rights to oppose same-sex marriage, even though Colorado authorities have not filed any complaint against her. It took the marquee case of the term — the constitutionality of affirmative action programs at colleges and universities — although the law in this area has been settled and there is no division among the lower courts.

“They’re impatient,” Harvard Law School professor Richard Lazarus said of the conservative justices, especially the longest-serving, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. “They’ve spent a lot of time waiting for this majority to happen, and they don’t plan to waste it.”

This is a thrilling story, reported by The Intercept.

THE NATIONWIDE CAMPAIGN to stifle discussions of race and gender in public schools through misinformation and bullying suffered a reversal in Idaho on Monday, when a high school senior vocally opposed to book bans and smears against LGBTQ+ youth took a seat on the Boise school board.

The student, Shiva Rajbhandari, was elected to the position by voters in Idaho’s capital last week, defeating an incumbent board member who had refused to reject an endorsement from a local extremist group that has harassed students and pushed to censor local libraries.

Rajbhandari, who turned 18 days before the election, was already well-known in the school district as a student organizer on climate, environmental, voting rights, and gun control issues. But in the closing days of the campaign, his opponent, Steve Schmidt, wasendorsed by the far-right Idaho Liberty Dogs, which in response helped Rajbhandari win the endorsement of Boise’s leading newspaper, the Idaho Statesman.

Rajbhandari, a third-generation Idahoan whose father is from Nepal, was elected to a two-year term with 56 percent of the vote.

In an interview, Rajbhandari told The Intercept that although he had hoped people would vote for him rather than against his opponent — “My campaign was not against Steve Schmidt,” he said — he was nonetheless shocked that Schmidt did not immediately reject the far-right group’s endorsement. “I think that’s what the majority of voters took issue with,” Rajbhandari said.

The Idaho Liberty Dogs, which attacked Rajbhandari on Facebook for being “Pro Masks/Vaccines” and leading protests “which created traffic jams and costed [sic] tax payers money,” spent the summer agitating to have books removed from public libraries in Nampa and Meridian, two cities in the Boise metro area.

But, Rajbhandari said, “that’s the least of what they’ve done. Last year, there was a kid who brought a gun to Boise High, which is my school, and he got suspended and they organized an armed protest outside our school.”

Rajbhandari, who started leading Extinction Rebellion climate protests in Boise when he was 15, is familiar with the group’s tactics. “We used to have climate strikes, like back in ninth grade, and they would come with AR-15s,” he said, bringing rifles to intimidate “a bunch of kids protesting for a livable future.”

So when the Idaho Liberty Dogs called on Boise voters to support Schmidt — and a slate of other candidates for the school board who, ultimately, all lost — Rajbhandari told me he texted his rival to say, “You need to immediately disavow this.”

“This is a hate group,” Rajbhandari says he told Schmidt. “They intimidate teachers, they are a stain on our schools, and their involvement in this election is a stain on your candidacy.” Schmidt, however, refused to clearly reject the group, even after the Idaho Liberty Dogs lashed out at a local rabbi who criticized the endorsement by comparing the rabbi to Hitler and claiming that he harbored “an unrelenting hatred for white Christians.”

While the school board election was a hyperlocal one, Rajbhandari is aware that the forces he is battling operate at the state and national level. “Idaho is at the center of this out-of-state-funded far-right attack to try to undermine schools, with the end goal of actually abolishing public education,” Rajbhandari told me. “There’s a group, they’re called the Idaho Freedom Foundation, and they actually control a lot of the political discourse in our legislature. Their primary goal is to get rid of public education and disburse the money to charter schools or get rid of that funding entirely.”

For his courage and candor, he won the endorsement of The Idaho Statesman.

This is a remarkable young man with a bright future ahead of him. I am happy to add him to the honor roll of this blog.

Read the rest of the story by opening the link. Rajbhandari is a force to be reckoned with. He is a good omen of the bright, dedicated young people who stand up for their teachers and for environmental activism, who fight for gun control and against censorship. Best wishes to him!

A billionaire named Barre Seid has given $1.6 billion to a new far-right group, to be used to fund extremist candidates.

ProPublica wrote about how the billionaire structured the deal to avoid taxes.

An elderly, ultra-secretive Chicago businessman has given the largest known donation to a political advocacy group in U.S. history — worth $1.6 billion — and the recipient is one of the prime architects of conservatives’ efforts to reshape the American judicial system, including the Supreme Court.

Through a series of opaque transactions over the past two years, Barre Seid, a 90-year-old manufacturing magnate, gave the massive sum to a nonprofit run by Leonard Leo, who co-chairs the conservative legal group the Federalist Society.

The donation was first reported by The New York Times on Monday. The Lever and ProPublica confirmed the information from documents received independently by the news organizations.

Our reporting sheds additional light on how the two men, one a judicial kingmaker and the other a mysterious but prolific donor to conservative causes, came together to create a political war chest that will likely supercharge efforts to further shift American politics to the right.

As President Donald Trump’s adviser on judicial nominations, Leo helped build the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, which recently eliminated Constitutional protections for abortion rights and has made a series of sweeping pro-business decisions. Leo, a conservative Catholic, has both helped select judges to nominate to the Supreme Court and directed multimillion dollar media campaigns to confirm them.

Leo derives immense political power through his ability to raise huge sums of money and distribute those funds throughout the conservative movement to influence elections, judicial appointments and policy battles. Yet the biggest funders of Leo’s operation have long been a mystery.

Seid, who led the surge protector and data-center equipment maker Tripp Lite for more than half a century, has been almost unknown outside a small circle of political and cultural recipients. The gift immediately vaults him into the ranks of major funders like the Koch brothers and George Soros.

In practical terms, there are few limitations on how Leo’s new group, the Marble Freedom Trust, can spend the enormous donation. The structure of the donation allowed Seid to avoid as much as $400 million in taxes. Thus, he maximized the amount of money at Leo’s disposal.

Sourcewatch says about him.

Barre Seid is a right-wing industrialist and donor to advocacy groups and thinktanks attacking climate science and promoting Islamaphobia. He is closely allied with the Koch network and funnels dark money through the same groups used by the Kochs, including Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.

Seid built a fortune as the Chairman and CEO of Trippe Manufacturing Company (now known as Trippe Lite), which produces electrical equipment such as surge protectors and power strips, and Fiber Bond, which produces HVAC equipment.[1][2] In 1985, he established the Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation. It donates primarily to education, cultural organizations and the arts, and other philanthropic associations.[3]

Attacks on Climate Science

Seid is a major donor to the Heartland Institute, a vocal denier of climate science. According to leaked internal Heartland Institute documents obtained by DeSmogBlog, between 2007 and 2011, Seid contributed over $13,342,267 in donations.[4][5] In September 2013, the Heritage Foundation hosted an event for Heartland Institute CEO Joseph Bast and two of Heartland’s contracted climate denial scientists Willie Soon and Bob Carter. During the event, the Heartland Institute representatives would present a report titled “Climate Change Reconsidered” which was funded by Barre Seid. The report denies the seriousness of global warming and directly challenges the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC). According to Greenpeace, the Heartland Institute falsely claims that the report is peer-reviewed.[6]

The Heartland Institute, in addition to denying climate change, is a big supporter of vouchers.

The Sourcewatch article describes his effort to take control of a small liberal arts college outside of Chicago and turn it into a reflection of his extreme ideology.

The New York Times revealed a shocking conspiracy among Republican state treasurers to thwart efforts to improve the environment. They have combined to punish banks that oppose climate change. Fighting climate change, they believe, is “woke.” They don’t care about the extreme droughts, storms, floods, and other climate catastrophes affecting their states and the nation. They want to protect the fossil fuel industry, not their children and communities.

The investigative report was written by David Gelles based on a review of thousands of documents.

Nearly two dozen Republican state treasurers around the country are working to thwart climate action on state and federal levels, fighting regulations that would make clear the economic risks posed by a warming world, lobbying against climate-minded nominees to key federal posts and using the tax dollars they control to punish companies that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the past year, treasurers in nearly half the United States have been coordinating tactics and talking points, meeting in private and cheering each other in public as part of a well-funded campaign to protect the fossil fuel companies that bolster their local economies.

Last week, Riley Moore, the treasurer of West Virginia, announced that several major banks — including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — would be barred from government contracts with his state because they are reducing their investments in coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

Mr. Moore and the treasurers of Louisiana and Arkansas have pulled more than $700 million out of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, over objections that the firm is too focused on environmental issues. At the same time, the treasurers of Utah and Idaho are pressuring the private sector to drop climate action and other causes they label as “woke.”

And treasurers from Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oklahoma joined a larger campaign to thwart the nominations of federal regulators who wanted to require that banks, funds and companies disclose the financial risks posed by a warming planet.

At the nexus of these efforts is the State Financial Officers Foundation, a little-known nonprofit organization based in Shawnee, Kan., that once focused on cybersecurity, borrowing costs and managing debt loads, among other routine issues.

Then President Biden took office, promising to speed the country’s transition away from oil, gas and coal, the burning of which is dangerously heating the planet.

The foundation began pushing Republican state treasurers, who are mostly elected officials and who are responsible for managing their state’s finances, to use their power to promote oil and gas interests and to stymie Mr. Biden’s climate agenda, records show.

Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema were the two Democrats whose support for the Inflation Reduction Act was in doubt until the very end. Manchin won protection for the fossil fuel industry. Sinema killed taxes that would hit the hedge fund industry. The Washington Post explains here:

Senate Democrats agreed Sunday to protect firms owned by the private equity industry from a new minimum tax on billion-dollar corporations, bowing to pressure from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who insisted on making the change to the Democrats’ sprawling climate, health-care and tax package.

The decision came as Democrats tried to hold their caucus together through nearly 19 hours of debate over the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which the 50-50 Senate approved Sunday with the help of a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Harris.


The package proposes hundreds of billions of dollars in fresh spending, financed in part through new taxes, including a corporate minimum tax that would require firms with more than $1 billion in annual profits to pay a tax rate of at least 15 percent. As originally written, the provision would have required private equity firms to tally profits from their various holdings and pay the tax if the total exceeded the $1 billion threshold.


Sinema, who for over a year has blocked Democratic ambitions to raise taxes, raised objections on Saturday, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.

The senator argued that, without changes to the bill, small and medium-sized businesses that happen to be owned by private equity firms would be exposed to the tax, violating a Democratic pledge to hike taxes only on the largest firms. A Sinema spokeswoman said several Arizona small businesses, including a plant nursery, had raised concerns.

The senator’s objections came days after she persuaded Democrats to abandon a different effort to raise taxes on private equity managers by closing the so-called “carried interest loophole,” which permits investment managers to pay lower rates on certain portions of their income.
In a statement, Sinema’s office said her goal is to “target tax avoidance, make the tax code more efficient, and support Arizona’s economic growth and competitiveness.”


“At a time of record inflation, rising interest rates, and slowing economic growth, Senator Sinema knows that disincentivizing investments in Arizona businesses would hurt Arizona’s economy’s ability to create jobs, and she ensured the Inflation Reduction Act helps Arizona’s economy grow,” the statement said.


The last-minute changes mark a significant victory for the private equity industry and an estimated savings of $35 billion over the next decade. Private equity represents a roughly $4 trillion industry in the United States, and as the sector has grown markedly over the past decade, it has flexed its considerable political muscle repeatedly in Washington.


From the start, the unusual way private equity businesses are structured posed a challenge for Democrats crafting the new minimum tax. Typically, large conglomerates are formed as “C corporations” under the tax code and pay corporate taxes. The new minimum tax would clearly apply to them. But private equity firms are legally formed as partnerships, which typically pay taxes on the individual returns of their owners. Senate Democrats say they crafted the legislation to ensure that wealthy investment managers who own numerous C corporations and other business entities collectively worth more than $1 billion would be subject to the tax.

But the tax was never intended to hit the smaller subsidiaries that make up private equity portfolios, said Ashley Schapitl, a spokeswoman for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who called industry claims to that effect “nonsense.”


Independent analysts largely agreed with that reading of the provision. “The language in the bill was intended to make sure they are treated the same way,” said Steve Wamhoff, a tax expert at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning think tank. “The idea that billion-dollar private equity funds must be protected to save small businesses is absolutely absurd.”

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Krysten Sinema held the power to block the Democrats’s ambitious bill to reduce carbon emissions and improve healthcare. Each of them extracted a hefty price in exchange for their vote, one that benefited either their state, their campaign donors, or themselves personally.

This analysis by the New York Times shows that Manchin got a trifecta: a win for the coal industry (big in his state), a win for his campaign donors, and a win for himself. Sinema demanded the removal of taxes on private equity firms..

Plenty of West Virginians are angry at Manchin. They are environmentalists. Senator Manchin takes care of the fossil fuel industry, not them.

BLACKSBURG, Va. — After years of spirited opposition from environmental activists, the Mountain Valley Pipeline — a 304-mile gas pipeline cutting through the Appalachian Mountains — was behind schedule, over budget and beset with lawsuits. As recently as February, one of its developers, NextEra Energy, warned that the many legal and regulatory obstacles meant there was “a very low probability of pipeline completion.”

Then came Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and his hold on the Democrats’ climate agenda.

Mr. Manchin’s recent surprise agreement to back the Biden administration’s historic climate legislation came about in part because the senator was promised something in return: not only support for the pipeline in his home state, but also expedited approval for pipelines and other infrastructure nationwide, as part of a wider set of concessions to fossil fuels.

It was a big win for a pipeline industry that, in recent years, has quietly become one of Mr. Manchin’s biggest financial supporters.

Natural gas pipeline companies have dramatically increased their contributions to Mr. Manchin, from just $20,000 in 2020 to more than $331,000 so far this election cycle, according to campaign finance disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission and tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics. Mr. Manchin has been by far Congress’s largest recipient of money from natural gas pipeline companies this cycle, raising three times as much from the industry than any other lawmaker.

NextEra Energy, a utility giant and stakeholder in the Mountain Valley Pipeline, is a top donor to both Mr. Manchinand Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, who negotiated the pipeline side deal with Mr. Manchin. Mr. Schumer has received more than $281,000 from NextEra this election cycle, the data shows. Equitrans Midstream, which owns the largest stake in the pipeline, has given more than $10,000 to Mr. Manchin. The pipeline and its owners have also spent heavily to lobby Congress.

The disclosures point to the extraordinary behind-the-scenes spending and deal-making by the fossil fuel industry that have shaped a climate bill that nevertheless stands to be transformational. The final reconciliation package, which cleared the Senate on Sunday, would allocate almost $400 billion to climate and energy policies, including support for cleaner technologies like wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles, and put the United States on track to reduce its emissions of planet-warming gases by roughly 40 percent below 2005 levels by the decade’s end.

Read the rest of the story in the New York Times.

President Biden proposed a $2.2 trillion investment in stopping climate change, expanding health care, and other ambitious goals. But Democrats hold only 50 seats in the Senate, and the defection of only one vote would kill any bill. As it happened, the Democrats had two Senators who blocked Biden’s plans: Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Both demanded and won concessions. The bill that passed over the weekend is still a dramatic improvement over doing nothing, but the holdouts watered it down.

Except for Manchin and Sinema, every Democrat supported the bill; the two holdouts required concessions. Every single Republican opposed every part of the bill, except for the part lowering the monthly cost of insulin, supported by 7 Republicans, not enough to save the proposal.

As a general proposition, the vote on the bill shows that Republicans are staunchly opposed to any legislation to slow the devastating effects of climate change and overwhelmingly opposed to lowering the cost of prescription drugs. The seven Republicans who voted with the Democrats were probably given permission by Leader McConnell to break ranks, since their seven votes were insufficient to pass the provision.

WASHINGTON — After months of painstaking negotiations, Democrats are set to push through a climate, tax and health care package that would salvage key elements of President Biden’s domestic agenda.

The legislation, while falling far short of the ambitious $2.2 trillion Build Back Better Act that the House passed in November, fulfills multiple longstanding Democratic goals, including countering the toll of climate change on a rapidly warming planet, taking steps to lower the cost of prescription drugs and to revamping portions of the tax code in a bid to make it more equitable.

Here’s what’s in the final package:

It is the largest single American investment to slow global warming.

The bill includes the largest expenditures ever made by the federal government to slow global warming and to reduce demand for the fossil fuels that are primarily responsible for causing climate change.

Energy experts said the measure would help the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of this decade. That puts the Biden administration in striking distance of meeting its goal of cutting emissions roughly in half by 2030. Far more will be needed to help keep the planet from warming to dangerously high global temperatures, scientists said, but Democrats considered it a momentous first step after decades of inaction.

It would invest nearly $400 billion over 10 years in tax credits aimed at steering consumers to electric vehicles and prodding electric utilities toward renewable energy sources like wind or solar power.

A number of fossil fuel and drilling provisions as concessions to Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a holdout from a conservative state that is heavily dependent on coal and gas.

The measure would assure new oil drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet. It would expand tax credits for carbon capture technology that could allow coal or gas-burning power plants to keep operating with lower emissions. And it would mandate that the Interior Department continue to hold auctions for fossil fuel leases if it plans to approve new wind or solar projects on federal lands.

The tax credits include $30 billion to speed the production of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and critical minerals processing; $10 billion to build facilities to manufacture things like electric vehicles and solar panels; and $500 million through the Defense Production Act for heat pumps and critical minerals processing.

There is $60 billion to help disadvantaged areas that are disproportionately affected by climate change, including $27 billion for the creation of what would be the first national “green bank” to help drive investments in clean energy projects — particularly in poor communities. The bill would also force oil and gas companies to pay fees as high as $1,500 a ton to address excess leaks of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and it would undo a 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing established by President Donald J. Trump.

Medicare could directly negotiate the price of prescription drugs, pushing down costs.

For the first time, Medicare would be allowed to negotiate with drugmakers on the price of prescription medicines, a proposal projected to save the federal government billions of dollars. That would apply to 10 drugs initially, beginning in 2026, and then expand to include more drugs in the following years.

Opponents argue that the plan would stifle innovation and the development of new treatments by cutting into the profits that drug companies can plow into their business, while some liberals expressed frustration that the policy would be too slow to take hold. Should the package become law, as expected, it would be the largest expansion of federal health policy since passage of the Affordable Care Act.

The package would cap the out-of-pocket costs that seniors pay annually for prescription drugs at $2,000, and would ensure that seniors have access to free vaccines. Lawmakers also included a rebate should price increases outpace the rate of inflation. (Top Senate rules officials, however, said that penalty could apply only to Medicare, not private insurers.)

Republicans successfully challenged the inclusion of a $35 price cap on insulin for patients on private insurance during a rapid-fire series of amendment votes early Sunday morning, forcing its removal. But a separate proposal that caps the price of insulin at $35 per month for Medicare patients remained intact….

The tax proposals were shaped by Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, who resisted her party’s push to increase tax rates on the country’s wealthiest corporations and individuals.

To avoid the rate increase Ms. Sinema opposed, Democrats instead settled on a far more complex change to the tax code: a new 15 percent corporate minimum tax on the profits companies report to shareholders. It would apply to companies that report more than $1 billion in annual income on their financial statements but that are also able to use credits, deductions and other tax treatments to lower their effective tax rates.

Ms. Sinema did protect a deduction that would benefit manufacturers, a change she successfully demanded before committing on Thursday to moving forward with the legislation. And she joined six other Democrats and all Republicans in narrowing the scope of that corporate minimum tax by backing an amendment in the final hours of the vote-a-rama Sunday afternoon.

Democrats, to make up for the loss of revenue forced by that amendment, extended a limit on tax deductions for business losses that was enacted as part of the Trump tax cuts in 2017.

She also forced the removal of a proposalsupported by Democrats and Republicans that would have narrowed a tax break used by both hedge fund and private equity industries to secure lower tax rates than their entry-level employees. And she committed to pursuing separate legislation outside of the budget package, but that would require at least 10 Republicans to support it.