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 MurkowskiCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress GOP senators dodge on treatment of White House protesters GOP senator: Trump used 'the Word of God as a political prop' MORE (R-Alaska) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight Stakes high for Collins in coronavirus relief standoff The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December 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-CortezNew York City issues Monday night curfew amid protests Engel primary challenger drops out, endorses fellow challenger Trump says he will designate antifa a terrorist organization MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGOP Massachusetts governor: Trump's compassion 'nowhere to be found' Markey calls Trump 'scum' over comments on George Floyd protests Bipartisan senators call for investigation of TikTok's child privacy policies 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 SchumerMcConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump over treatment of protesters House Democrat demands answers from Secret Service about role breaking up White House protests Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' 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.