Manchin: Obama Declaring ‘War on America’ With New Coal Regulations

Craig Millward | June 27, 2013 | 6:20am EDT
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( – Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from the coal-producing state of West Virginia, says President Obama has declared “war on America” with his newly announced limits on carbon dioxide pollution from both new and existing coal-fired power plants.

Appearing Wednesday on “Fox and Friends” Manchin was asked if Obama has declared a war on coal, a war on jobs, and a war on West Virginia:

“Well, really a war on America,” Manchin responded. “When you look at it from that standpoint, 8 billion tons of coal is being burned in the world as we speak. The United States of America consumes about 1 billion tons. Now what’s going to happen to the other 7 billion tons? What’s going to happen to the countries that are consuming and using 7 billion and it’s increasing rapidly? Nothing’s being done there.”

Manchin said the United States has done more than ever to clean up the environment in the past two decades, and “there’s more that can be done.”

He said the president is asking coal-fired plants to meet standards that haven’t been perfected yet, instead of working with the technology that’s available right now.

“We’re caught in between right now. We have older plants, coal plants that can be retrofitted, but if they try and retrofit them they have to meet standards that are unattainable.”

Manchin said the president’s new regulations will cost the economy jobs.  He noted that even the Energy Department's Energy Information Agency estimates that coal will supply around 35 percent of the nation’s energy needs up to the year 2040: “How are they going to replace it?” Manchin asked. “What are they going to do?”

At the end of the interview, Manchin was asked how angry he is on a scale from 1 to 10.

“Well, it's just ridiculous. This is just ridiculous,” he said. “I should not have to be sitting here as a U.S. senator fighting my own president and fighting my own government. That's ridiculous. I want to work with them. I've reached out; I will continue to reach out, but I need a partner here. I don't need an adversary; I need a partner and an advocate.”

On Tuesday President Obama announced a series of executive actions aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. The three-prong strategy includes tighter regulations on coal-fired power plants to reduce the amount of carbon pollution, expanded renewable energy production on federal lands, and increased energy efficiency standards.

The president also said he will not approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project if it “exacerbate[s] the problem of carbon pollution.”

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