Senior Policy Advisor, Clean Energy Program

Erin Burns

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Despite growing up in the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia, Erin never expected to work in energy policy. After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, she moved to D.C. to look for jobs – still unsure of who hired 22 year olds with Cultural Anthropology degrees. After working at a local farmers market for a few months, she wandered into the U.S. Senate to ask for a job. After being hired, Erin quickly found a passion for energy policy that ended up leading her to the center of some of the nation’s most pressing energy debates –and much closer to the issues of her home state.

Erin worked in the office of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) for four years managing energy, environment, labor, and agriculture policy. Her work there included staffing Senator Manchin on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in his role as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Lands, and in his role as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy, as well as drafting legislation and navigating federal energy and environmental rulemakings.

As a Senior Policy Advisor for Third Way’s Clean Energy Program, Erin’s work helps explain why and how we need to invest in carbon capture and storage and advanced nuclear technologies, along with renewables, to fight climate change. She focuses on crafting long-term legislative solutions to scale-up these technologies so the U.S. can meet our necessary and ambitious climate goals.

Whether it’s calling a grocery cart a “buggy” or somehow always having a bar well-stocked with moonshine, Erin is often reminded that you can’t escape your roots.

Follow Erin on Twitter at @erinmburns