Since the United States will continue to use coal for the next several decades, President Barack Obama should get serious and release funds designated for research in clean coal technology, Sen. Joe Manchin said Tuesday.
New regulations announced by the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday are aimed at reducing carbon emissions
from coal plants by 30 percent by 2030.
Manchin, whose home state of West Virginia relies heavily on coal production, said the federal government had earmarked $8 billion for research that has gone unused.
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"All we're asking for is to give us the technology. Eight billion dollars has been laying there in research in the Department of Energy for clean coal technology research. Not a penny's been spent. Not a penny," the West Virginia Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "This administration should be dealing with the facts, and how do we fix things."
Manchin said improvements in the coal industry have already "cleaned up the environment more in the last two decades than ever in the history of the world."
He explained that the United States currently only burns 1 billion of the 8 billion tons of coal used in the world. He said the largest users of coal globally were China at 4.5 billion tons of coal "and increasing," and India with 2 billion tons.
While recognizing the world's "7 billion people have had an impact, and we all have a responsibility," Manchin argued the White House might be the party in denial about climate issues and the country's reliance on coal.
"I'm not a denier. And I would ask this administration, 'Are you deniers — denying that you can go and energize this country without using fossil?'" he said.
If the administration was serious, Manchin said the United States would implement trading policies with other countries to encourage them to "start using the clean coal technology that's available, and help us develop the new clean coal technology that can clean up the atmosphere."
"If we just said in America we're going to cut our trading back unless you start cleaning up things you can do with scrubbers, (low emission) Low NOx boilers, things of that sort. We're not even doing that," Manchin said.
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