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 Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills MORE (R-Alaska) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinLabor head warns of 'frightening uptick' in black lung disease among miners Labor leader: Trump has stopped erosion of coal jobs Overnight Energy: States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules | Greens seek hearing over proposed rule on energy efficiency tests | Top Dem asks GAO to investigate climate threat 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-CortezThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump threatens jail time over 'treason' and 'spying' Lewandowski: Why Joe Biden won't make it to the White House — again Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTrump faces criticism for hosting Hungary's leader Bill Nye tees off on climate change skeptics: 'The planet is on f---ing fire!' Sanders to join Ocasio-Cortez in headlining Green New Deal rally Monday 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 SchumerGetting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act 'SleepyCreepy Joe' and 'Crazy Bernie': Trump seeks to define 2020 Dems with insults 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.