October 27, 2011

Commonsense Ideas for a Stronger America: Manchin Ends Tour with Focus on Creating Energy Jobs

At WVU symposium on Marcellus, Manchin will highlight the need to achieve energy independence using all our domestic resources, as well as a balanced regulatory approach to the environment and economy

Morgantown, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today wrapped up his weeklong tour of West Virginia focused on “Commonsense Ideas for a Stronger America” with events focusing on creating jobs by expanding domestic energy production and achieving energy independence within this generation. 

“West Virginians know that our great country is at a crossroads. Our economy is struggling, job growth is anemic, and the economic outlook is weak,” Senator 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. 

“With our nation facing such a serious jobs crisis, we must choose policies that not only work, but put Americans back to work. Energy independence is not only good for America's long-term security, it will also help create good jobs now. Jobs that can't be outsourced. Jobs that can support a family and will help build towns and cities all across this nation. And we must move forward with developing the Marcellus Shale in a responsible way that creates jobs and makes us more energy independent.”

Senator Manchin started the day by speaking at an AARP event to honor West Virginia University as one of the state’s best places to work for individuals older than 50. He then held a conference call with business leaders in the state about their challenges, many of which are related to the EPA’s regulatory overreach.

Later tonight, Senator Manchin will deliver the keynote address at a West Virginia University’s College of Law symposium hosted by the law school’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. The conference will center on the regulatory challenges involved with developing the Marcellus Shale.

Excerpts of the Senator’s speech, as prepared for delivery, are included below:

“A real plan for energy independence for America must use all of our domestic resources – oil, coal, natural gas, geothermal, nuclear, biomass, wind, solar, hydro – anything and everything we’ve got. 

 “Unfortunately, that is not what we see today.

“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.

“We see the EPA pass more and more regulations that are paralyzing investment, raising costs, and killing jobs.  

“We see an Administration that demonizes coal and other fossil resources, ignoring the fact that these are the fuels that have always powered this nation, and that right now, we have nothing to take their place.”


“Not only is this Administration ignoring the fact that coal built this nation – and provides nearly half of our electricity – they are missing the tremendous potential of the shale resources in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the rest of our region. They’re so determined to demonize fossil fuels that they ignore the vast, untapped resources waiting to be developed right here at home, which could reduce this nation’s dependence on foreign oil and create good-paying, American jobs. 

“Let me be clear – I have always said that we must seek a balance between our environmental concerns and our economic considerations. 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. We have a responsibility to our children to ensure that our air is clean, our water is clear and that our environment is no worse off than the way we found it. 

“In West Virginia, although our state legislature has not yet reached consensus on how we can best balance the potential of the Marcellus Shale with the concerns that residents have raised about its environmental effects – I know that our state won’t let this opportunity go by.”


“It was not too long ago that a very well-known company visited my office to discuss the potential of Marcellus Shale, but would not tell me the type of chemicals they planned to use in the ground. They would not tell me what they were putting into the ground – or make any kind of guarantee about the safety of these chemicals. 

“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. 

“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. 

“When it comes to the potential of the Marcellus Shale, I really do believe in complete transparency. We need to put our faith in companies that have proven their reliability and responsibility. 

“We need a regulatory framework in place – driven by the state – to effectively extract the natural gas and to attract the billion dollar ethane cracker plants for natural gas production – and the jobs that they would bring to West Virginia.”


“I can tell you that our Marcellus Manufacturing Task Force makes West Virginia the most proactive state in terms of being able utilize this resource effectively and safely, and WVU has the tools to support this industry with the engineering school and the knowledgebase there. 

“I truly believe that our state should be given the opportunity to regulate this resource themselves. 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. We do not need the EPA regulating how we move forward on the Marcellus Shale before the states have the opportunity themselves – but just last week, the EPA announced that they would start developing the standards for wastewater disposal, proposing regulations for both coalbed methane and shale gas. In addition, we will soon have to face a new set of EPA rules governing air emissions for oil and gas production. While the EPA has delayed the release of the final rule on these standards by about 30 days, we can expect to see them near the beginning of next spring. 

“I would caution the EPA: more overreach is the last thing we need. … 

“… I hope that the EPA will work as a partner with our state Department of Environmental Protection, which already has air and water quality rules that the gas and oil industries are required to meet. 

“And my message to our state regulatory agencies and our state legislators would be: do not miss this opportunity. Do not miss out on the potential that lies in the Marcellus not only for energy – but also for job creation and economic development and the rebirth of a region.”