BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is frustrated with the Obama administration.
The senator said the President Obama and the federal Environmental Protection Agency refuse to acknowledge any policy which involves coal as a long-term energy source for the country. He’s worried they are playing a dangerous game.
“They believe they can do an energy policy for the United States without fossil and that’s not accurate and not true,” Manchin said during a visit last week in Mercer County. “They are a greater denier there than anybody else who’s denying we have a climate problem.”
Manchin’s remarks came amid the announcement of Coal River Energy’s decision to shut down its operations in Kanawha, Boone, and Lincoln counties. It’s the latest in a long list of WARN notices in 2014 at mines throughout West Virginia and the Appalachian region.
“They won’t stop, they keep coming and that’s what’s horrible,” Manchin said. “When utility companies start making changes and retrofitting to gas, those are long-term changes. The big problem we are going to have in this country is reliability.”
Manchin said he’s attempted to communicate what he believed were the direct circumstances of ostracizing coal from the nation’s energy makeup. He said he can make no traction with his concerns at the White House.
“There is still going to be a need for coal in the United States of America. I know it’s very difficult for this administration to acknowledge that.” Manchin told MetroNews. “The big problem we’re going to have in this country is reliability. It’s Russian roulette they are playing here and the ones who get hurt the most are the elderly, the fixed income, and the poor. I’m afraid you’re going to have a lot of people’s lives in jeopardy if we don’t get an energy policy which includes coal in this country.”
Manchin said before operators decide to shutdown an operation, he’d like to see each operation reevaluated. He said the best example was a decision by Cliff’s Natural Resources. A management change at the top of the corporate structure resulted in the reversal of plans to close the Pinnacle Mine in Wyoming County. Manchin said he wanted to see more fair and honest evaluations of operations to see if other reversals could occur.
“There’s a demand for coal around the world,” he said. “There’s still going to be a need for coal in the United States of America.”