June 07, 2011

In Senate Energy Hearing, Manchin Stresses the Role Coal Plays in Achieving Energy Independence

**Audio and Video Available**

AUDIO of Senator Manchin’s questions is available here: manchinqa2 060711.mp3

VIDEO of Senator Manchin’s questions is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNgiwodp5fg

Washington, D.C.-- In an Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this morning, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pressed Steven G. Chalk, an official with the U.S. Department of Energy on how to achieve energy independence within this generation, defended the vital role that coal plays in our energy portfolio and warned that jobs will continue to be jeopardized until this nation develops a comprehensive energy policy. 

“Do you find it appalling that we don’t have an energy policy in 2011 in the United States of America?” Senator Manchin asked. “We want jobs and we want an economy, we want to be able to compete. We don’t want wars around the world. We don’t want to continue to be reliant on foreign oil.”

Senator Manchin told the committee and witnesses that without a long-term energy policy that ends our dependence on foreign oil, the United States will continue to lose jobs and Americans will pay higher energy prices. He pointed to an Ocean Spray plant in New Jersey that chose to relocate --  laying off 250 workers -- because its energy costs were so high. 

“If the rest of the world is going to be using the coal that we are producing in West Virginia, they want to buy up our coal fields in West Virginia, and here we are, not even using it to the best of our ability-- does that make any sense to you at all?” Senator Manchin asked. 

The purpose of today’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing was to gather testimony on three bills including S. 937 the American Alternative Fuels Act of 2011 of which Senator Manchin is a cosponsor. 

This bill would break down barriers to alternative energy fuels, including those produced from coal, biomass, algae and waste. To that end, Senator Manchin recently helped break ground at a cutting edge coal-to-gasoline plant in Mingo County, West Virginia – an example of a strong partnership between entrepreneurs and state and local governments to invest in alternative domestic resources now to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.