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Manchin, Capito vote against Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON — West Virginia’s two U.S. senators voted Thursday against a resolution to nullify the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, the Trump Administration’s replacement to the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, voted against the repeal while Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat, voted in favor.

Critics of the Clean Power Plan contend it placed unrealistic standards upon coal-fired power plants and would make modernization of older plants too costly to meet the lower standards. The Clean Power Plan would have reduced carbon dioxide levels to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule was issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in June.

The Senate voted 53-41 not to nullify the rule under the Congressional Review Act that enables Congress to disapprove of regulations promulgated by federal agencies.

Manchin said he voted against Senate Joint Resolution 53 to nullify the clean energy rule because it “put politics over solutions.”

“While I maintain that the Affordable Clean Energy rule is flawed for ruling out carbon capture and utilization technologies for coal plants, a (Congressional Review Act) is an overly broad legislative tool that would prevent any subsequent legislation that is substantially the same, whether it is an improvement or not,” Manchin said. “I believe we need to put the partisan gimmicks aside and come together to focus on developing and deploying the technologies vital to solving climate change, from carbon capture and utilization and solar power to energy efficiency and storage technologies.”

Technologies once unattainable then are now within reach, Manchin said. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has passed 43 bills in a bipartisan fashion toward clean-energy solutions, he said.

“The United States must lead the world in technological innovation, advanced manufacturing and transportation sectors to continue to keep our energy affordable, stimulate job growth and enable us to lead on these climate solutions globally,” he said.

The resolution would have revived the Clean Power Plan, which Capito said would have been devastating to the energy economy in West Virginia.

“If today’s resolution had passed, it would serve as the starting point for a resumption of the War on Coal and a march to the extremist excesses of the Green New Deal, which would have devastated West Virginia and halted the progress we’ve made,” Capito said.

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