January 13, 2016

Manchin slams Obama on coal | Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - A West Virginia senator had advice for President Obama in the hours before the chief executive delivered his last State of the Union speech.

Sen. Joe Manchin reminded Obama he was the president of all the 50 states.

"Not just a select few," Manchin said.

Manchin, the only Democrat in the West Virginia congressional delegation, spoke to reporters from West Virginia by telephone conference call prior to the president delivering his annual address Tuesday to a joint session of Congress.

West Virginia has taken the brunt of the administration's energy policy that is intended to lessen pollution and improve health, which impacts the use of fossil fuel, particularly coal. The clean air limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency can not be met by the available technology, Manchin said.

Hundreds of layoffs have been announced at coal companies in West Virginia and coal-fired plants have been closed. While other states may see job growth, West Virginia has not because of administration's energy and environmental policies, Manchin said.

"But I would say to him 'you are president of 50 states, not 39 or 40," Manchin said.

Manchin said he agrees with the president on combatting prescription drug abuse, of which West Virginia leads the nation in deaths, through controlling the borders and better controls from the Food and Drug Administration. The director of the FDA should not come from the drug industry, he said.

While the president highlighted the legacy of his eight years in office, Manchin pointed out the nation is $19 trillion in debt. The Republicans increased debt to $10 trillion and under the Democrats it rose another $9 trillion, he said.

"That's not a legacy to be proud of," Manchin said.