Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, believes both parties need to put aside ideological differences to find a way to address climate change while also protecting the affordability and reliability of American energy.
Speaking at an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce April 8, Manchin said he believes human beings are contributing to climate change but also said coal and other fossil fuels would be necessary parts of America’s energy mix for at least the next three decades.
“I’m not a denier,” Manchin said. “I believe that 7 billion people have an impact on this wonderful planet of ours. We’re responsible for the environment. We have something we can do about it.”
But, the West Virginia senator said those environmentalists who deny coal will be a necessary part of the energy mix for the next several decades are also hampering progress.
“Are you denying that you’re not going to be needing fossil to energize this country for the next three decades?” Manchin asked. “If you’re a denier [of that], then you’re worse than anybody on the other side. So we better start working together.”
Both parties need to come together to seriously address issues like climate change and energy reliability, and put national interests ahead of party politics.
Manchin also warned of the dire consequences that could have come if the extreme cold weather this winter—known as the polar vortex—had occurred next year. Approximately 10,000 megawatts of coal-fired power generation could be shut down this year, Manchin said.
“If the polar vortex would have hit next year with 10,000 more megawatts of coal-fired power plants coming off, we’d have had the most vulnerable people in our society at risk of their lives,” Manchin said.
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