Maine and West Virginia senators divided on environmental future

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- When President Donald Trump addresses Congress and the nation Tuesday, we can expect to hear much of the same from last year when it comes to energy policy.

When the newly elected President Trump spoke at a Joint Session of Congress last February he said, "we have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job-crushing regulations."

The president spent much of his inaugural year rolling back Obama-era regulations on coal mining, oil drilling, and climate change.

“It’s a very exciting time to be in the energy business," Barry Worthington, Executive Director at the United States Energy Association said.

At the State of the Energy Forum in Washington D.C., Worthington said the White House kept its promises.

“They see the value of increasing domestic energy production including exports and the impact on jobs the impact on," he added.

On Capitol Hill lawmakers are divided.

“I’m not comfortable with the direction the president is going," Maine Senator Angus King (I-ME) shared.

King is in favor of some deregulation, but worries what pulling out of the Paris climate agreement will mean for his state.

“The environment is important especially in Maine. It’s so much of who we are and what our economy is based upon but also the long term challenge of climate change is something I don’t think we can ignore," the Independent senator added.

But West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin supports many of the president’s rollbacks. He said it’s good news for the coal industry in his state, which overwhelmingly supported the president in 2016.

Environmentalists aren’t happy with the president’s moves, but Manchin said there can be a balance.

“There’s nobody in West Virginia I know that wants to drink dirty water or breath dirty air. On the other hand they want jobs too, we can do both," Manchin said.

This week President Trump placed a new tax on solar technology imports. He said it will help manufacturers here at home. But opponents say it’s a blow to the renewable energy industry.

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