CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s quid pro quo. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin took a trip to Rhode Island earlier this month as a guest of U.S. Sen.r Sheldon Whitehouse to see how climate change is impacting his state.
On Wednesday Sheldon came to West Virginia for a tour of key energy sites. Both senators made a stop in Charleston on their way to Wyoming County to tour the Pinnacle Mine.
Manchin said he and Whitehouse are on opposite sides when it comes to energy and climate change. However, both are willing to listen to each other. The senator stressed that’s especially important at a time when the EPA is trying to shut down coal-fired power plants.
“We see it coming. I just don’t want to go down this road. Having someone like Sen. Whitehouse who comes from the environmental side of it, willing to look at the fossil side of what we do and willing to work with me, I think that’s been a great achievement,” Manchin said.
Manchin said he has been crossing party lines since he arrived in Washington four years ago to try and get things accomplished. A proposed plan to use carbon sequestration is raising hope more lawmakers will be willing to consider backing away from the EPA’s hard line.
“Can you use CO2 coming off a coal fired plant, liquefy it, sequester it in the ground and use it for enhanced gas recovery? We know it works in the oil fields for enhanced oil recovery,” said Manchin.
Also on Wednesday’s tour were stops at a wind farm in Grant County and the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Monongalia County. Manchin said while the state is diversifying, the impact of shutting down coal fired power plants could put millions of people up and down the east coast in jeopardy.
“You have another winter like you did last year, with not that redundancy as far as power to re-energize the line, you’ve got people with rolling blackouts and brownouts and you’re going to put the poorest and lowest income people in jeopardy of their lives,” said Manchin.
Manchin said if other members of Congress who favor strict environmental policies would be willing to at least take a tour of West Virginia like Whitehouse, things might be less polarized in Washington.