“The coal mining industry is going to be saved, has to be saved because the country cannot operate without it,” he said on Wednesday.
The United States has 500 active coal mines, while China operates 2,900.
There are about 6,600 coal mines in operation today across the globe.
“So, the people who believe that the United States’ coal industry is polluting the world and the climate” need to know that America “has no affect whatsoever compared to the impact of Asia.”
Manchin’s fellow Democrats disagree.
Former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden have both taken steps to stop coal production by outlawing new federal land leases, with the eventual goal of shuttering the industry, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.
West Virginia relies on coal-fired electrical power more than any other state in the nation, with more than 90 percent of the state’s power coming from coal.
The Mountain State also produces more coal than any other state that lies east of the Mississippi River and the second most in the nation.
Only Wyoming mines more coal, Statista reported.
Manchin said the coal industry’s future will depend upon its adoption of technology to capture carbon dioxide, a non-toxic gas that greens the Earth.
“If you want to help clean up the climate, you’re gonna have to find the technology through innovation to basically be able to capture the carbon and utilize it,” he said.
Despite his current support for the coal industry, Manchin asserted that renewable energies will eventually replace coal.
“There will be a time in the future,” he said. “There’ll be a transition. We could be using fusion, hydrogen, all renewables. That day will come. We just don’t know when.”
For now, Manchin’s mission is to preserve West Virginia’s jobs and energy supply.
“My job is to make sure that in some way, shape, or form, I represent the workers in this mine by making sure they go to work every day, they earn a living and they go at home at night with their family, and that’s something we can do at the Department of Labor,” he said.