Sen. Joe Manchin said he is not a climate change denier, but wondered if some on the far left were deniers when it came to the importance of coal as an energy resource.
"I believe that seven billion human beings on Mother Earth here have affected the environment, and we're responsible for that," the West Virginia Democrat told "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday.
"I'm not a denier. On the other hand, I ask my friends from the really far left, if they will, 'Are you a denier? Are you denying that this country can continue to provide affordable reliable energy without using fossil or coal or any of that?'" he asked.
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With coal being one of the primary industries in his home state of West Virginia, Manchin said it was important to "find a balance" between environmentalists who oppose coal mining, and the fact that it serves as a reliable source of energy.
"It's going to take all of us working together," he said. "You don't get anything accomplished by just pointing fingers and saying, 'This person is wrong.'"
If the nation experiences another severe winter like the last one, Manchin said that without the use of fossil fuels for home heating, there could be people whose "life is in danger, and many people will die."
The answers involve reliability and affordability in the fossil fuels industry "to keep us competitive," he said.
Manchin also expressed sympathy for the families of two coal miners killed Monday in a "horrific" mining accident in Boone County, West Virginia.
"I called both of the families last night, and my prayers are with them. I don't know the details on it. We'll get to that. The safety of our miners is the first and foremost thing. And, we're going to continue to do everything we can to make our mines as safe as possible," he said.
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