U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and two other U.S. senators visited the Mt. Storm Power Station and NEDPower Wind Farm Friday during a statewide tour of West Virginia energy production facilities.
Manchin was joined by two fellow Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the leading Republican member of the committee; and Sen. Wyden, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the incoming chairperson and ranking member of the committee. They visited West Virginia's energy production sites in order to witness an "all-of-the-above" approach to energy production in practice.
West Virginia's energy production infrastructure employs a variety of technologies, such as coal-fired power plants like the Mt. Storm facility, wind farms and Marcellus Shale drilling. Manchin said this kind of all-inclusive approach to energy production is the best way to increase energy independence in the United States.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joe Hoover
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., left, and his invited guests, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., tour the Mt. Storm Power Station, a coal-fired plant in Grant County that incorporates wind energy. On Friday, the group also visited several of West Virginia’s energy production sites in order to see how a diverse energy production infrastructure might lead toward energy independence. Additional photos can be found online at cu.theintermountain.com.
"I invited leaders from both parties to see how our state is an example of how to develop a comprehensive energy policy using all our domestic resources," Manchin said. "One size does not fit all - we need to use all of our resources. If we do it and we do it right, we can use all the resources God gave us to be independent of foreign oil and be a more secure nation.
"I invited the incoming leaders of the powerful Senate Energy Committee to our state to see how we can do it all, and to explain how the country can follow this model."
Murkowski said Alaska is a state with considerable involvement in energy production, so it was critically important for her to see how an all-inclusive energy policy works in practice.
Wyden said it is imperative that the United States find a way to become energy independent.
"We want a win-win situation," he said, "an energy situation in which we produce energy and we protect our precious natural resources."
Wyden said he expects the Senate Energy Committee will work closely with Manchin toward the development of energy independence.
"We need to produce cleaner energy, but we also have to maintain reasonable costs. The Mt. Storm facility's incorporation of wind energy is an excellent example of the kind of balance we need to develop," Murkowski said.
Manchin said one of the biggest steps the United States can take toward energy independence is for each state to create an inventory of its energy assets and identify its needs.
"Every state has different needs and different potentials for energy production. If our nation is going to become energy independent, we need to start working on the state level," he said.
While the United States is still unequivocally dependent on foreign energy sources, Wyden said he believes energy independence is definitely possible.
"Nobody is saying we can attain independence in the next 15 minutes," he said. "However, things are changing. For the first time in a long time, we are exporting finished oil.
"Can we become energy independent and come up with cleaner, cheaper sources of energy? Yes, we can."