President Obama and Senate majority leader Harry Reid are “mak[ing] it harder for a Democrat to defend some of the Washington Democrats’ agenda,” particularly with their hostility toward fossil fuels, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia says.
Manchin, a Democrat who was reelected in 2012, said Wednesday that the president’s dragging his feet to approve the Keystone XL pipeline “just doesn’t make any sense – none at all.” The administration has long delayed making a decision on whether to approve the pipeline, which will transport oil from the Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries. Supporters now worry that Canada’s recent moves to open access to other countries means the United States may miss out.
Polls show Americans largely support the pipeline’s construction. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have called for the president to approval it, including, most recently, Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu.
“This has truly, strong bipartisan support in the Senate and in the House. . . . Why the president and the administration [are] hunkered down and not moving forward is beyond my understanding,” Manchin said.
Manchin also took issue with Reid’s refusal to take up reforms to Environmental Protection Agency regulations, which have hurt West Virginia’s coal industry. He also hinted that Reid has shown favoritism for coal production in his home state of Nevada, which involves a different coal-extraction process, called hard-rock mining.
“If there’s going to be fairness in this country, let’s look at mining across the board,” Manchin said. “When was the last time you saw new regulations in hard-rock mining? The 1800s?”