Coal country Democrats and coal industry representatives were still uneasy after their meeting with the Obama administration on Thursday. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said it was unclear whether the president would change his approach.
“We’ll have to see how it plays out,” Manchin told The Washington Post. “They’re using every tool they have to destroy the most abundant, reliable and affordable resource that we have.”
Manchin led a delegation of state-level Democrats, coal industry representatives and union officials to meet with the White House on Thursday to urge the Obama administration to scale back its aggressive environmental regulations.
“We don’t have the technology to meet the standards,” Manchin said. “If it’s unattainable, it’s totally unreasonable.”
Those present during the nearly hour-long meeting included White House staff, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy, United Mine Workers, the National Mining Association, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and West Virginia Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall.
Manchin told the Post that he found McCarthy to be “pragmatic” compared to her predecessor Lisa Jackson. Manchin was the only Democrat to vote against McCarthy’s confirmation.
President Obama recently unveiled his plan to address global warming, which included limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Environmentalists argue that burning coal contributes to global warming.
Manchin and other coal country lawmakers are resisting carbon emissions limits, which they argue would cripple the coal industry. The coal industry and lawmakers also argue that the EPA has been stonewalling clean water permits necessary for mining operations.