October 24, 2014

Reason | The Cumberland Times-News

Climate change foes unite to seek solutions

Two U.S. Senators who are about as far apart philosophically as one can get on a particular subject began this week to find common ground on which to work together.
Both of them base their beliefs on personal experience. That they are willing to look for compromise is a breath of fresh air in a political arena that reeks with the smell of uncompromising ideologies.

That both of them are Democrats really doesn’t matter.

Sen.?Joe Manchin represents West Virginia, a state where the coal industry is key to the economy. He has been pushing back against the Environmental Protection Agency’s targeting of coal-fired power plants on grounds it will cripple the state’s fossil fuel industry.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island has seen the effect of climate change on his home state and has no intention of withdrawing his support for the EPA’s targeting of coal-fired utilities.

Rather than simply continue to argue about it, they took a joint tour of West Virginia’s coal and energy resources this week. Included were visits to coal-fired plants, a center where the U.S. Department of Energy is funding research into cleaner fossil fuel use and meetings with utility executives who discussed the effect of new federal regulations.

They began two weeks ago when Manchin went to Rhode Island to visit coastal locations to see the effects of beach erosion and talk to fishermen and scientists about the effect climate change has had.

Each acknowledges that the other man makes valid points. They agree that climate change is a problem and America isn’t the only country that must address it. Both say technology must advance to enable cleaner burning of fossil fuels and that America will continue to rely on fossil fuels for years to come.

Manchin and Whitehouse continue to disagree on some things, but are trying to understand why the other feels the way he does and to work together on finding solutions.

Isn’t that refreshing?