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Joe M.
Democrat WV

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  • McCarthy Nomination

    by Senator Joe Manchin, III

    Posted on 2013-07-18

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    MANCHIN. Mr. President, I rise today to explain my vote against Gina McCarthy, which I will cast later today or the first of next week, to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. My fight is not with her. My fight is truly with the agency itself, the EPA, and the President who nominated her to head the regulatory agency. That fight is not going to end with the Senate's vote on Ms. McCarthy's nomination. It will not stop there. The fight will continue until the EPA stops its overregulatory rampage and until the President comes up with feasible policies that achieve real energy independence, which is what I think we all wish for.

    I don't want anyone to misunderstand me. I have serious disagreements with many of Ms. McCarthy's views on energy and the environment, but I will say I met her a couple of weeks ago for the first time when she came to my office, and I found her to be earnest, friendly, pragmatic, incredibly intelligent. She is a talented scientist who has dedicated her life to public service. As a matter of fact, she served under Democrats and Republicans alike. I certainly appreciate her pragmatism, her willingness to serve her country, and her stellar bipartisan credentials, an extremely rare quality in Washington these days, as everyone knows.

    In fact, it is not hard to imagine this same lady could have been nominated to be the EPA Administrator--if Mitt Romney would have won-- by another President from another party. After all, she advised him on climate change when he was Governor of Massachusetts.

    My vote goes much deeper than her nomination, her views on energy and the environment or even her job performance for the last 4 years as head of air policy at the EPA. My vote against Gina McCarthy is a vote against the administration's lack of any serious attempt to develop an energy strategy for America's future, which we call an all-of-the-above policy.

    We need to develop every source of American-made energy, such as coal, natural gas, nuclear, renewables, wind, solar, biomass, and biofuels. We need it all, and we are responsible to make sure we find a balance between the economy and the environment. Everyone knows it is common sense to use what we have in this country.

    We need an all-of-the-above policy that includes nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, renewables, such as wind and solar, fossil fuels, including oil, natural gas, and coal. I truly believe if we work together and focus on a commonsense approach, we can develop a strong bipartisan energy plan. Such a plan will not only break the power of foreign oil countries and speculators, it will also chart a new and promising energy future for this great Nation and increase our national security and prosperity. Think about that. It will increase our national security and the prosperity of our country.

    The President often speaks about an all-of-the-above energy policy, but I have to say that his new global climate proposal amounts to a true declaration of war on one of the above. It is a true declaration of war on coal. In fact, the President plans to use the EPA to regulate the coal industry out of existence.

    The coal industry in the United States of America burns 1 billion tons of coal. Eight billion tons of coal is burned in the world today. I don't believe the wind currents or the ocean currents start and stop in North America. If we stop burning every ton of coal and declare war on the economy, it will effectively destroy people's lives and jobs as well as their ability to take care of themselves. There is more coal [[Page S5763]] burned in the world now than ever before, and it is unregulated. We do burn coal better than anyone else, and we can even do it better if the government will work with us. All we are asking for is a partnership.

    It doesn't matter who is elected as the Administrator of the EPA. If the President plans to use the EPA to regulate the coal industry out of existence, it doesn't matter who it is. It could be Ms. McCarthy or someone else because it is the President and the administration that will be calling all the shots. That is my fight, and it is a fight where I wish we could sit down and work together. It is a fight we cannot lose as the United States of America. There is too much at stake.

    Coal is America's most abundant, most reliable, and most affordable source of energy. In fact, coal keeps the lights on and provides nearly 40 percent of the electricity in this country--40 percent. Almost half of the population of the United States of America depends on coal for their energy. It is the source of energy that built America. It made the steel that built the factories and defends our country with guns and ships. It has done it all. All we are asking for is a partnership so we can continue to keep the lights on.

    With all the clean coal technologies we have--and will continue to have for decades--we can use it in a way that strikes a balance between the environment and the economy. There should always be a balance. It can't be all or nothing. It seems as if we have these extremes today where a person is either on the right or on the left, absolutely for an issue or absolutely against an issue. If there is never a compromise, how can we make it work? There is nobody in West Virginia who wants to breathe dirty air or drink dirty water. Nobody in America wants to do that. We have a responsibility to do it better. In fact, in the last two to three decades, we have cleaned up the environment more than ever in the history of this country.

    For the last 40 years, every President has talked about how to end our country's addiction to foreign oil in order to achieve energy independence. We know our dependence on oil has taken us to places in the world to fight wars that have sacrificed American men and women as well as the precious resources of this great country. We have been fighting wars we shouldn't be in because of our dependence on foreign oil.

    We need to stop demonizing one energy resource--and I do mean demonizing it. When people say, I hate this or I hate that or I can't stand this--turn the lights off. Turn the air-conditioning off. Turn it all off and see how well you like it or don't like it.

    If we start using all of our resources, we can, once and for all, end our dependence on foreign oil. If we end our dependence on foreign oil, we will be a stronger and more secure Nation. We can do that within this generation and keep our economy more secure and our economy producing jobs for generations to come.

    All I ask is for a level playing field. I ask that our government--in this beautiful country of ours--partner with me and West Virginia so we can work together.

    I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.

    The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

    The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Tennessee.

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