October 27, 2011

Manchin Touts All Energy Sources at Marcellus Symposium | WTRF

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin took to the stage at a West Virginia University symposium on natural gas Thursday to call for the use of more domestic fuel resources to achieve national energy independence.

Manchin said the country is at a crossroads when it comes to developing the energy and the economy.

"Our economy is struggling, job growth is anemic, and the economic outlook is weak," Manchin said. "And with this nation's jobs crisis on the top of most Americans' minds right now, we must not forget how closely our economy is tied to this country's dependence on foreign oil. So there is no question, with the Marcellus Shale, our state has a great opportunity to do two critical things at once: create jobs both now and into the future and advance our goal of achieving energy independence."

Manchin delivered his statements Oct. 27 at the West Virginia University's College of Law symposium hosted by the law school's Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. The speech was part of his weeklong tour of West Virginia on his "Commonsense Ideas for a Stronger America."

Manchin recounted a visit from a "very well-known company" to discuss Marcellus shale. When they wouldn't tell him the chemicals they were going to use to hydraulically fracture the shale below, he claimed he cautioned them about not guaranteeing West Virginians safety.

"And I told them, 'You can't expect West Virginians to trust you if you won't even tell them the God's-honest truth about what you're putting in their land,'" Manchin said. "But you can expect West Virginians to be the best partners you'll ever have, who will work with you to extract the resource and find solutions instead of creating roadblocks."

In planning the nation's energy future, the nation must look several energy sources, Manchin said, including "oil, coal, natural gas, geothermal, nuclear, biomass, wind, solar, hydro — anything and everything we've got." West Virginia has the potential to participate in each of those energy fields.

A diversified energy portfolio, Manchin claims, is not the interest of the federal government.

"We see government bureaucrats tilting the scales and giving a solar energy company a half-billion-dollar guaranteed loan — even when they knew the company was in trouble," Manchin said, referencing the heavily scrutinized Solyndra. "We see the EPA pass more and more regulations that are paralyzing investment, raising costs and killing jobs."

Manchin criticized the Obama administration for demonizing coal and other fossil fuel resources. In passing over fossil fuels, Manchin said, the nation is passing up on valuable jobs and opportunity.

"Let me be clear: I have always said that we must seek a balance between our environmental concerns and our economic considerations," Manchin said in prepared statements. "If we are going to develop our natural gas resources — and I believe we must — then we have to ensure that processes like fracking do not do catastrophic harm to our natural environment."

Manchin called for a state-based framework for developing the gas.

"I truly believe that our state should be given the opportunity to regulate this resource themselves," Manchin said. "States know the needs of their people best – and I do not believe that federal regulators should step in here unless the states fail to do their jobs."


By:  Taylor Kuykendall