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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 MurkowskiSenate GOP signal they won't filibuster debate of hate crimes bill Trump digs in on attacks against Republican leaders Nixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  MORE (R-Alaska) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFive hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill Nixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan 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-CortezNY House Democrats demand repeal of SALT cap The Memo: How liberal will the Biden presidency be? Five hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle | Justices dismiss suit over Trump's blocking of critics on Twitter | Tim Cook hopes Parler will return to Apple Store Democrats press Facebook on plans for Instagram for kids Give Republicans the climate credit they deserve 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 SchumerChuck SchumerHolder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Capitol Police officer killed in car attack lies in honor in Capitol Rotunda Rep. Andy Kim on Asian hate: 'I've never felt this level of fear' 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.