W.V. Senate candidates on the issues: energy

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Senate candidates want to convince you they know how to repower West Virginia’s energy future.

Republican Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey thanks President Donald Trump for bringing coal back by moving to roll back regulations.

“Let’s take our coal, let’s take our oil and natural gas, let’s ship it to other markets, locally and around the world,” Morrisey said, “then you’re going to watch our economy grow.”

In a recent academic paper, industry experts with West Virginia University write that market forces are the biggest factor in coal’s decline and projections that the decline will continue.

Like President Donald Trump, Morrisey blames regulations championed by President Obama for coal’s downturn. On this, incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is on the same page.

In our interview, Manchin called Obama’s energy policies “very poor”. He said the set of policies, “wasn’t feasible, and it wasn’t realistic, and it just killed us.”

But, while both Morrisey and Manchin believe the coal industry can heat back up in West Virginia, Manchin isn’t ruling out other power sources. “I’m an all-in energy policy person,” he said, “I need coal, I need nuclear, I need gas, I need wind, I need solar, I need hydro.”

Manchin said he won’t be on-board if the President tries to strike safety rules or clean air and water regulations. “There’s a balance,” he said, “and if President Trump tries to push too far, it’ll come back and bite him bad.”

Both candidates want to see the federal government step in to save miners’ failing pension plans.Manchin and West Virginia’s other senator – Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) – have not been able to sell a bail-out on Capitol Hill.

“I think I’d come in and have the ability to help make that happen a lot quicker than Joe Manchin can,” Morrisey said.

The proposals from Manchin and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) to save miners’ pensions currently have more support on the left than the right in Congress. A bi-partisan committee is scheduled to come up with its own determination about whether and how to save a wider range of failing pensions by the end of the year.

To hear more from the candidates, check out the video links above. Other stories from our series examining the candidates’ positions on guns, health care, drug addiction, and working with the president in the related stories tab.

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