Policy: Environment & Energy

UPDATED --- Joe Manchin to EPA chief: 'War on Coal' needs to stop

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Beltway Confidential,West Virginia,EPA,Ashe Schow,Gina McCarthy,Energy and Environment

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Friday that he told Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy that the "war on coal" needs to stop.

Manchin, along with West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, other state legislators and representatives from the coal industry, met at the White House with McCarthy and Miguel Rodriguez, legislative affairs director for President Obama.

"It came very loud and clear: Gina McCarthy, you need to come to West Virginia," Manchin told NBC's West Virginia affiliate, WVVA. "You need to see that because of the rules and regulations which you have implemented or that your agency has tried to implement, what irreparable damage that would do not just to West Virginia but to the energy sector of our country."

"We basically defined the 'war on coal' and we want that war to stop. We want our government to be our partner and our ally, not our enemy that we have to fight, and we've given her every avenue to come see for herself and I'm very hopeful that she'll do that," Manchin said.

Manchin said that the West Virginia delegation outlined specifically how EPA regulations were destroying jobs without much effect on the environment. He also said they showed McCarthy how West Virginia has been cleaning up the environment over the past two decades, but said that new regulations, such as the New Source Performance Standards that are designed to cut carbon emissions would be "unobtainable" for states like West Virginia and result in more job losses.

Overall, Manchin said that the meeting was "productive" and that he's "hopeful" McCarthy will visit West Virginia and that the coal industry would be able to work together with the EPA.

McCarthy's office has not responded to media inquiries.

UPDATE: McCarthy reacts

Alisha Johnson, an EPA spokesman, said of McCarthy's meeting with the West Virginia Democrats that it "was a good and productive meeting. It is always helpful to hear views of the West Virginia delegation as we work together to find the best solutions to protect public health and reduce carbon pollution while promoting job growth."

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