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Manchin optimistic for energy legislation

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Sen. Joe Manchin said the federal government needs to cut $5 trillion in spending, and it will require cutting expenses, raising revenues and reforming existing programs.

"Not one or two of those by themselves can do it," Manchin said Wednesday at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce's Business Summit, which is under way at The Greenbrier Resort.

Manchin predicted that following the November election, Congress will pass legislation that takes the three-pronged approach.

"I think it would give such a positive charge to the market," he said. "The confidence level that would be put back in this country would be unreal. I believe this is what will happen."

Manchin said he also is optimistic that Congress will adopt an "all-in" policy that promotes all forms of energy.

"Coal, natural gas and nuke — these are the three you can count on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year," Manchin said. "I think there will be a new fuel of the future — it might be hydrogen or fusion. But that's not here.

"I had some environmentalists visit the other day. I said I hadn't met a person yet in West Virginia that wants dirty water, dirty air. I said, 'We're realists in West Virginia. We understand what we can and can't do.'"

Manchin said China is burning four times more coal than is being burned annually in the United States. Manchin said he told the environmentalists, "If you believe that if we would quit burning coal, it would clean up the environment, you truly believe the world is flat."

 "No matter who wins the presidency, we're going to have a movement for an energy policy that's all-in," Manchin predicted. "You put politics aside, anything can happen."

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J. Thomas Jones, president and chief executive officer of WV United Health System, has been elected 2012-2013 chairman of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

Jones was elected at the chamber's annual meeting, which was held Thursday prior to the opening of the Business Summit.

Jones succeeds Timothy Huffman of the law firm Jackson Kelly.

Also elected: Richard Adams of United Bank, vice chairperson; John Canfield of State Farm Insurance, secretary; and J. Randolph Cheetham of CSX, treasurer. Steve Roberts was re-elected chamber president.

Newly elected to the chamber's Board of Directors: Dean Cordle of AC&S, Robin Hildebrand of Blue Smoke Salsa, Nancy Kissinger of Chase, Jeff McIntryre of West Virginia American Water, Andrew Paterno of Huntington Banks, Sarah Smith of Alpha Natural Resources, Juliet Terry of Cliffs Natural Resources, and Austin Wallace of West Virginia Mutual Insurance.


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