WHEELING - Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. David B. McKinley, R-Wheeling, say they will fight any attempts by President Barack Obama to impose climate control legislation through executive order.
Manchin, a Democrat, and McKinley, both of West Virginia, held separate teleconferences with reporters Wednesday to discuss Obama's State of the Union address, delivered Tuesday. During his speech, Obama vowed if climate control legislation wasn't passed by Congress, he would seek to impose the measures through executive order.
"I'm totally in opposition to that approach," Manchin said. "Our founding fathers put a system together that has worked pretty well for us, and I think we should adhere to the system we have - the three branches of government, with responsibilities and powers invested in each. I would be very outspoken if that would come to pass and he would try to circumvent that."
During the last session of Congress, McKinley sponsored multiple measures seeking to stop the implementation of climate change legislation.
"It's more of a manifestation of how he's been doing for the past four years," McKinley said of Obama's vow to use executive order. "He's been treating Congress as if it's irrelevant, and he's going to be trying to through executive orders. Democrats and Republicans alike are not happy with that. We're going to have to see how that is going to play out."
He added there is probably a need for more bipartisan discussion this year on the issue of climate change.
"I may be naive, but we're going to see more of that this year ... ," McKinley said. "We have more discussion about climate change. But let's make sure we differentiate science from politics. Political figures want to use climate change as justification to shut down our coal power houses and our factories that are burning coal.
"Scientists are saying it may be slightly contributing to global warming, but at times ... it is clearly not having an effect," McKinley continued. "This is something that naturally occurs ... and we should expect warmer weather sometimes. It goes in cycles. So let's not push a cyclical change to push an ideology."
Manchin said there were many positives in Obama's speech, but he also noticed there was something missing from Obama's words.
"I was disappointed in his talk about energy that he didn't speak about coal," Manchin said. "We just fundamentally have an absolute disagreement on this. ... To deny that coal plays such an important part in the energy mix that is needed for this nation is wrong.
"When you talk about the climate, I'm all for doing what we can to strike a balance between the environment and the economy. But when you understand the United States burns less than one-eighth of the coal burned in the world, you have a much larger problem."
That problem is finding the technology needed to adequately clean the coal "not just for America, but for the world," Manchin added.