The Washington Times - June 26, 2013, 09:57AM

Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, denounced President Obama’s newly-unveiled plan to combat climate change as a “war on coal” Tuesday.

On Wednesday, he said it’s really “a war on America.”

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“When you look at it from that standpoint, there are 8 billion tons of coal that’s being burned in the world as we speak,” Mr. Manchin said on “Fox and Friends.” “The United States of America consumes about one billion tons. Now, what’s going to happen to the other 7 billion tons? What’s going to happen to the countries that are consuming and using 7 billion, and it’s increasing rapidly? Nothing is being done there. We have done more to clean up the environment than ever in the last two decades and there’s more that can be done.”

Mr. Manchin, who has been one of Mr. Obama’s best allies during the battle over gun legislation, said coal-fired plants are caught in a tough situation. The centerpiece of the president’s plan tasks the EPA with working with states, private industry and other stakeholders to come up with the first limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants.

“We’re caught in between, right now, we have older plants, coal-fired plants that would be retrofitted but if they try to retrofit them, they have to meet standards that are unobtainable,” Mr. Manchin said. “So you know what they do? Nothing.”

On a scale from one to 10, Mr. Manchin was asked, how angry is he about this?

“I don’t think that you have a scale,” he replied. “I don’t think so … well, it’s just ridiculous. This is just ridiculous. I should not have to be sitting here as a U.S. senator fighting my own president and fighting my own government. That’s ridiculous. I want to work with him. I’ve reached out; I will continue to reach out. But I need a partner here. I don’t need an adversary. I need a partner and an advocate.”