WASHINGTON — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin believes we have the energy available in the United States to meet our domestic and international needs, which in turn would reduce the need for Russian oil.
Manchin, DW.Va., participated in a video news conference Wednesday with reporters from across the state to discuss developments in Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, U.S. energy policy, speech on President Joe Biden’s State of the Union and more.
The senator said Biden’s speech likely would have been different had Russia not invaded Ukraine last week. However, this event has shaped much of what is currently happening in the world with international relations and the way Russia is held accountable for the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If we are to be serious about the support we have for Ukraine, and we are as a country, all of our allies are united as never before,” Manchin said. “I’ve never seen anything like it come together like he did.
“It united the free world like never before.”
During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, Manchin sat down with Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah to show a “united front.”
“If we cannot show that we are united and not divided in the political discourse that we have been saying for too long, how can we expect our allies and our NATO allies to rally and unite against the assaults of what Russia is doing right now,” Manchin said. “We have to work together.
“If we can’t even sit together, we can’t communicate together and we can’t solve the problems that our country needs to solve.”
Showing unity to the rest of the world is also important. Manchin explained how the determination of the people of Ukraine, especially President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, brought so many together and inspired the world during this difficult time.
“We can’t even sit together, communicate and talk – God help us all”, he said.
Those who take a stand against Russia must ban any product directly from Russia that benefits the Russian government or Putin and his supporters, including oil, the senator said.
Businesses and others in the United States have been buying more than 650,000 barrels a day for some time, especially in the northeast where they don’t have gas distribution lines to meet their electricity needs, a Manchin said.
Manchin said he would introduce a bipartisan bill to declare a national emergency and direct the president to use his existing authority to ban imports of crude oil, petroleum and other products from Russia. This would exempt products already en route to the United States
He also wants to see energy production in the United States, and particularly in the Appalachian region, increase to compensate for what will not be allowed in through sanctions and more against Russia.
“With this, we want to make sure there are no hardships for the American public,” Manchin said. “We can avoid this by increasing our production. We have the capacity. We have produced much more than we are today.
He wants to see production increase on federal lands and in the Gulf of Mexico by removing restrictions and bans in place.
“We need to start producing the energy our country needs again,” Manchin said. “We can do it. We just have to go to the plate.
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing today and Manchin said he wants to see why West Virginia and other states can’t get a gas line from the Marcellus Shale and Utica.
He said pipelines like the Atlantic pipeline have been shut down and shut down. The Mountain Valley pipeline is 95% complete with approximately 20-30 miles of line to go that can be utilized.
By addressing many climate concerns, Manchin said, through innovations in how it is removed, the climate can still be protected.
“The energy we produce in America is cleaner than anywhere else in the world,” Manchin said. “We have to stop the flow of Russian oil.
“If we have bars across America that will stop selling or buying Russian vodka, surely we can keep Russian oil out of America,” Manchin said.
The senator said a lot still boils down to getting the financial house of the United States to handle the other things the country needs to do and reduce the national debt which is over $30 trillion. He wants to consider having a fairer tax code where people pay their fair share. Also, energy policies must be orderly and reliable.
He has nothing against renewable energy, but it does not yet have the capacity to run the national economy and help the nation’s allies.
“We have the energy and we have the ability to take care of America and our allies around the world,” Manchin said.
Putin may take more drastic measures in the future that could put the world at risk.
“I say let’s get ready,” Manchin said.
Brett Dunlap can be reached at [email protected]