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Jun 20 2012

Manchin: ‘Enough Is Enough’ From The EPA

Manchin supports Inhofe resolution to stop over-reaching EPA from using new, expensive rules for coal-fired power plants

Washington, D.C. – Pointing to the thousands West Virginians whose good jobs depend directly and indirectly on the coal industry and reasonable utility rates, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said today that he will continue to fight against any overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Senator Manchin voted in favor of a Congressional resolution that would stop the EPA from implementing the Utility MACT rule, which is one of the most expensive rules in agency history. 

“Enough is enough,” Senator Manchin said. “The people of West Virginia are tired of the EPA’s overreach, and I will do everything in my power to rein in the EPA – and any agency that oversteps its authority. The fact is, this rule will have devastating effects on our families, jobs and economy and doesn’t come close to striking a balance between the economy and the environment. Looking ahead, we need to come together across party lines to work on a solution that will truly address this problem.” 

Senator Manchin delivered a speech on the Senate floor this morning just before the vote. 

Background: 

Along with a handful of other rules on the verge of being implemented or already in place, the Utility MACT rule would cost the U.S. economy up to $275 billion over the next 25 years, according to the Electric Power Research Institute. 

Utility MACT could cost 1.3 million jobs over the next two decades, according to the National Economic Research Association.

The full text of Senator Manchin’s floor speech as prepared for delivery are below: 

I rise today to speak in favor of the Congressional Resolution of Disapproval that Senator Inhofe has filed under the Congressional Review Act to stop the EPA from implementing one of the most expensive rules in recent memory. 

I thank my colleague Senator Inhofe for introducing this important resolution to send a message to the EPA: Work with our businesses, not against them. Understand that your actions will put thousands of hard-working Americans out of a job in the worst economy in generations. Don’t raise electricity rates on consumers who can barely afford their monthly utility bills as it is. Commit to finding a balance between our economic realities and the environment. 

From the day I arrived in the Senate, I have been determined to stop the EPA’s jobs-killing agenda, and this Resolution of Disapproval takes an important step to rein in this out-of-control agency. West Virginians are outraged at the ways the EPA is overstepping its bounds on regulation after regulation. 

Along with a handful of other rules on the verge of being implemented or already in place, the Utility MACT rule would cost the U.S. economy up to $275 billion over the next 25 years, according to the Electric Power Research Institute. And Utility MACT could cost 1.3 million jobs over the next two decades, according to the National Economic Research Association. 

And on the issue of Utility MACT, I have heard from thousands of West Virginians in the past several weeks. Just yesterday, I hosted a group of 45 miners and their families in the beautiful Rules room of our Capitol to talk about the urgent need to rein in the EPA so that they can provide for their children. 

About three-fourths of the miners in the room had recently been laid off. And they traveled 756 miles on a bus in one day to tell me how important this issue is to them, their families, their communities and our state. 

Because they’re fighting for their jobs. I’m here to fight for them. 

Our coal miners are the salt of the earth. They work so hard to provide energy for this country – and to provide for their families. They don’t want a handout, they want to earn a paycheck. Now is not the time to pull the rug out from under them and make them worry about how they’re going to pay their bills. 

I believe that this country needs to strike a balance between our environment and our economy. This EPA has gone too far, and that is why I will be casting my vote in favor of this resolution to disapprove of their new rules. I urge my colleagues to do the same. 

I truly believe that energy is an issue where we can bring thoughtful members of both parties together to work on solutions. 

Let me point to an important example. In the time that I have served, I have learned that many of my colleagues know of West Virginia only as a coal state, but the fact is: we use everything we have – wind, hydro, natural gas, biomass – to produce energy in this state. 

So this past weekend, I invited the incoming leaders of the Energy Committee – Senators Wyden and Murkowski, a Democrat and a Republican – to tour our state and see how West Virginia is “all in” for energy independence. One of them will likely be the next chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which I am proud to serve on. And both of them, like me, are committed to developing a comprehensive energy plan for this country. 

Which brings me to our recent visit to my state of West Virginia. They saw how we are already using an “all of the above” approach. In the eastern part of my state, we toured Mt. Storm, a coal-fired plant with a companion wind plant. When the wind isn’t blowing, the coal plant can still generate the electricity we need. Down south, in Boone County, we visited the Mountain Laurel complex, a state-of-the-art facility that uses both underground and surface mining. We visited reclaimed surface mining sites to see how our nation’s military is using them to train for conflicts around the world. We saw a hydroelectric dam at Summersville Lake. We talked to workers at extraction sites for natural gas in the north central part of my state. 

In short, we saw a little bit of everything. 

In our little state, we set an example for this country when it comes to energy production, and it’s an example of what we can do when we are willing to come together. 

Our bipartisan energy tour this past weekend gives me hope that we can come together, and I’m hopeful that in the coming weeks and months we will be able to break the partisan logjam and come together across the aisle to bring a balance to our environment and economy – and develop a true comprehensive energy policy. 

And in the meantime, I will continue to do everything in my power to rein in the EPA. 

Thank you M. President, and I yield the floor. 

Broadcast-quality video is available here:

FTP:
HD…http://sdmc-media.senate.gov.s3.amazonaws.com/Manchin/062012_MANCHIN_1_FTP.M2T
SD… http://sdmc-media.senate.gov.s3.amazonaws.com/Manchin/062012_MANCHIN_1_FTP.MPG

YouTube Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWk2VqrzeBU&feature=youtu.be

Audio:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/sdmc-media.senate.gov/Manchin/062012_MANCHIN_1_AUDIO.mp3

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