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Senators encourage energy industry at summit

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At the Governor's Energy Summit, both of the state's Democrat senators wished success on a sector that accounts for a major portion of the state's economy.

Sen. Joe Manchin spoke at the summit, telling the audience that he was fighting for coal's place in the national energy picture from Washington.

"If you still believe that if we quit burning every lump of coal in America, that we'll clean up this environment, than you believe the world is flat," Manchin said. "It'd be better if you would work with us."

Manchin said the federal government should instead be looking for carbon dioxide control technology that is affordable and exportable.

"We can do a lot about CO2 if the government would work with us," Manchin said.

In the meantime, he added, it "doesn't make sense" to invest in renewables that don't provide what he believes is a substantial return on investment.

"I think we can reach a balance," Manchin said.  

Sen. Jay Rockefeller could not attend the event, but he passed along a statement that was read in his place.

"Our state is blessed with a true wealth of energy resources from coal to natural gas to new and expanding opportunities with wind, solar and hydro," Rockefeller wrote to representatives of the energy industry. "Finding ways to improve the extraction and use of these resources and improving West Virginia's energy competitiveness at a time of significant change will take nothing less than a dedicated team effort from across all of you fields."