Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change

Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change
© Stefani Reynolds

Two centrist senators on Friday called for the U.S. to pursue "pragmatic policies" to combat climate change instead of focusing on "drastic, unattainable measures."

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote MORE (R-Alaska) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinO'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Schumer: I don't know any 'Democrat who agrees' with O'Rourke on gun seizures MORE (D-W.Va.) wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that the U.S. has the opportunity to lead the world on the development of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pledged to support those efforts in the Senate.

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"If the United States is going to lead by example, we must continue to lead the world in the development of new and improved technologies," they wrote. "On the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, we agree it is time to act. And that is why we will work to find responsible solutions worthy of West Virginians, Alaskans and all Americans."

While not naming the Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez reveals new policies for campaign aides with children Kennedy launches primary challenge against Markey The Memo: 'Whistleblower' furor gains steam MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyMarkey challenges Democratic Senate campaign opponents to climate change debate Kennedy launches primary challenge against Markey Markey fundraises ahead of Kennedy primary challenge MORE (D-Mass.) earlier this year, Murkowski and Manchin appeared to knock the plan as drastic and unattainable in passing reference.

"This is often portrayed as an issue with just two sides — those who support drastic, unattainable measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and those who want to do nothing," they wrote. "We believe the time for sensationalism is over. And we are seeking ideas that will bring people together, rather than drive them apart."

While not naming specific policies the two would pursue, Murkowski and Manchin wrote that they would support "pragmatic policies that can draw strong and enduring support" from voters and lawmakers alike.

The two rural state senators are the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the Interior and Energy departments as well as the production of oil and gas on federal land.

Manchin ascended to the ranking member's spot in December, a move environmental activists lambasted at the time due to the West Virginia senator's historic support for coal companies.

"Joe Manchin’s appointment as ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee is a stark failure of [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE’s leadership," environmentalist group Friends of the Earth said in a statement last year. "Schumer is out of touch with the progressive voters who will continue to push for a Green New Deal in the next Congress."

This article was updated at 3:20 p.m.