Manchin: “˜There’s an Overreach by the EPA’

National Journal
Clare Foran
Nov. 13, 2013, 6:34 a.m.

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West Vir­gin­ia Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­or Joe Manchin cri­ti­cized the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts to reg­u­late car­bon emis­sions from power plants and urged the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to listen to mar­ket sig­nals when in­vest­ing in new en­ergy tech­no­logy.

“There are those of us on both sides of the aisle that be­lieve that there’s an over­reach by the EPA,” Manchin said at an event hos­ted by Na­tion­al Journ­al Wed­nes­day.

Re­fer­ring to the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency’s new rules for fu­ture power plants, which will man­date the use of car­bon cap­ture and stor­age tech­no­logy, he ad­ded: “We don’t have the tech­no­logy to get us there and they are go­ing to say that if you don’t get there you can’t do it and it doesn’t make any sense what­so­ever.”

In­stead, Manchin called for great­er col­lab­or­a­tion between the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and the private sec­tor so that pub­lic in­vest­ment can be used to sup­port what he says are more vi­able tech­no­lo­gies.

“You can’t force a round peg in a square hole,” Manchin said.

Manchin also said the ad­min­is­tra­tion has not done enough to so­li­cit feed­back be­fore mak­ing de­term­in­a­tions about where to in­vest in re­search and de­vel­op­ment and de­cid­ing which policies to pro­mote. He men­tioned the EPA’s de­cision not to a stop in West Vir­gin­ia, one of the top coal-pro­du­cing states, dur­ing its pub­lic listen­ing ses­sions on up­com­ing reg­u­la­tions for ex­ist­ing power plants.

The EPA has said those ses­sions were aligned with its re­gion­al of­fices in cit­ies like San Fran­cisco, Bo­ston, At­lanta, and Phil­adelphia.

“Let me ask you this: if you wanted to find out what was go­ing on and you wanted some in­put and you were the new dir­ect­or, would you go to the states that pro­duce most of the en­ergy?” Manchin said. “There’s not one of those field hear­ings sched­uled in West Vir­gin­ia, not one, and all we said was please come, listen to us and let us listen to you.”

“You identi­fy a prob­lem first, then find com­mon­al­ity, then find a way to move for­ward and that’s all we’ve asked for,” he ad­ded. “If this gov­ern­ment is go­ing to its com­fort zone and not where the real prob­lems are, where the rub­ber meets the road, then they’ve got a real prob­lem.”

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