04 February 2010

Manchin Back from the White House (2nd Update)

President Barack Obama greeted Gov. Joe Manchin and others attending a White House meeting on coal by announcing "a new task force to study ways to increase the use of coal in meeting the nation's energy needs without increasing the pollution that contributes to global warming," The Associated Press reports.

Obama called coal "one of our most abundant energy resources," the article said, and added that "If we can develop the technology to capture the carbon pollution released by coal, it can create jobs and provide energy well into the future."

The AP also notes that "the White House meeting comes a day after Obama signaled a willingness to separate a controversial cap-and-trade proposal aimed at limiting carbon pollution from more attractive green energy jobs and energy efficiency proposals. The House approved the anti-pollution measure last year as part of a comprehensive energy bill, but it is unlikely to win Republican support on Capitol Hill."

Manchin sat on the other side of Vice President Joe Biden from Obama during the meeting, according to AP photos and AFP photos from the event.

Manchin issued a statement afterward, and spoke with West Virginia reporter as well. Those with resulting coverage include (updated):

Update: Manchin also recounted his White House meeting to the West Virginia Coal Symposium, the Daily Mail reports.

Update II: In the wake of the White House energy summit, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller grilled Obama budget chief Peter Orszag about his boss' stance on coal, The New York Times reports.

Rockefeller at one point told Orszag that "he isn't sure he trusts the president's commitments to coal, even as Obama promotes the fossil fuel through a series of other administration actions," the article said.

"He says it in his speeches, but he doesn't say it in here," Rockefeller is quoted as saying, referring to the budget proposal. "He doesn't say it in the actions of [EPA Administrator] Lisa Jackson. And he doesn't say it in the minds of my own people. And he's beginning to not be believable to me. So I want you to put me at rest or put me away."

The Senate Finance Committee has posted video of the hearing. Rockefeller's questioning begins around 59:45.

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