June 25, 2014

Manchin & Whitehouse Staking Out Common Ground on Energy and Climate Policy

Senators Pledge to Visit Each Other’s States

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) held a colloquy on the Senate floor to discuss the impacts of climate change and the importance of coal in America’s energy portfolio.  The two Senators agreed that climate change is a real problem that human activity is contributing to, and that coal and other fossil fuels will need to be part of the nation’s energy mix for decades.  They also identified some specific policies that they plan to work together on, and pledged to visit each other’s states to learn more about the importance of coal in West Virginia and the effects of climate change in Rhode Island, respectively.

“I am pleased that Senator Whitehouse and I could begin a dialogue on how we can establish an all-of-the-above energy policy that acknowledges the reality of climate change, while also understanding that fossil fuels – including coal – will be a vital part of our energy mix for decades to come,” said Senator Manchin. “We are going to confront our challenges together, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans and as the world leaders we always have been. We’re going to find that balance and show not only America, but the world, that we can look past our differences to better this planet.”

“America is still a beacon to the world, because we have the ability to work through disagreements to common ground, on a shared platform of fact,” Whitehouse said.  “With the commitment of serious leaders like Senator Manchin, I am confident that we can move forward on this issue in a way that preserves the economy and quality of life in West Virginia, in Rhode Island, and for all Americans.”

The Senators also identified the Department of Energy’s Title 17 loan guarantee program as something they plan to work together on.  The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the program to support the deployment of innovative energy technologies that avoid, reduce, or sequester carbon pollution.  DOE currently has authority to issue $34 billion in new loan guarantees under the original program.  Of that amount, $8 billion is available for fossil energy projects, but the funds have yet to be deployed.  Manchin and Whitehouse plan to urge DOE to put those funds to use.

Details of the visits to West Virginia and Rhode Island will be planned in the weeks and months ahead.

Video of their remarks is available here.


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