MADISON – He says it’s not going to happen overnight, but U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he is optimistic about the future of the coal industry in West Virginia.
“The legal battles West Virginia has won in the courts against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hopefully put some certainty back in the coal industry, but the jobs are not going to come back overnight,” Manchin told a large crowd gathered inside the Circuit Court of the Boone County Courthouse on Thursday. “We have won four of four lawsuits against the EPA and this should give coal operators some confidence moving forward with the permitting process.”
Manchin’s stop in Madison is part of his “Building a Stronger America Together” tour across the state for the next few weeks to discuss some of the most pressing issues of our day and how leaders must work across party lines to solve them.
“Whether it’s reducing the debt of this nation or creating good-paying jobs, the problems that we face can’t be solved by one political party alone,” Senator Manchin said. “When I was Governor, West Virginians of all political parties put aside their differences for the good of our state; our country can and must do the same. Nothing could be more important than rebuilding this country, and I look forward to having this conversation with the people of West Virginia.”
Manchin said coal must be part of the mix when it comes to a national energy policy for the country.
“We are the only state using all of our energy resources and still reducing emissions,” he said. “Some want to get rid of coal, but that is not going to happen. We can either use our own coal or we will export it to countries like China and India, but it will be used. But I am optimistic that our country will have a balanced energy policy that includes coal.”
Manchin also talked about the need to rebuild America and create jobs through infrastructure projects.
“Our country must get its finances in order and then we can fix anything or any problem,” he said.
Manchin also said just because he would not be attending the Democrat National Convention or agree with President Barack Obama and Washington Democrats on every issue, it didn’t make him a bad Democrat.
“I am a West Virginia Democrat and was elected to represent the people of West Virginia,” he said. “Just because I don’t follow every step the national Democrat Party does, it doesn’t mean I’m not a good West Virginia Democrat. I want to earn your vote, not just follow everything the Democrats in Washington think I should follow. One size doesn’t fit all and that is what I love about the Democrat Party. I am running for re-election and there are lots of Democrats running for office that will not be attending the national convention.”
Manchin said he wants to work with both Democrats and Republicans for the good of the nation.
“We are all Americans and we need to stop this partisan politics that is hurting our great nation,” he said. “We must all work together for what is best for all of us.”
Manchin encouraged all West Virginians to attend the first-ever bipartisan federal fiscal summit on Sept. 10. Two of the nation’s leading fiscal experts will be joining Manchin to discuss the country’s finances and its future.
“Republican Senator Alan Simpson and Mr. Erskine Bowles, the former White House Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, led the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and have presented a bipartisan blueprint for a path forward,” Manchin said.
He said that the free forum is open to the public and will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Sept. 10, at the Culture Center’s theater in Charleston.
This week, Manchin said he would also be promoting his “I Hire Veterans” project to increase veterans’ employment, discuss how the National Guard can help the military save money and strengthen defense, and speak to business leaders.
“We have to bring everyone together…Democrat, Republican, Independent and everyone else to fix the problems facing our country, and I believe we can do it,” Manchin said.