Another word that can join two independent clauses is the conjunctive adverb. You probably use these words in your writing style: however, therefore, furthermore, nevertheless, and others.
If you use a conjunctive adverb to join two independent clauses, then use a semicolon, followed by the conjunctive adverb, followed by a comma:
The committee had heard these arguments before; therefore, it turned its attention to other matters.
The agency trusted the report; however, the report proved faulty in its scientific method.
Wrong: The agency trusted the report, however the report proved faulty in its scientific method. Right: The agency trusted the report; however, the report proved faulty in its scientific method.
Frankly, most modern writers avoid these structures. Instead, they use coordinating conjunctions, often beginning the next sentence with a conjunction. As we’ll see below, top writers do not begin sentences with “However” and a comma.
Previous: Serial-Comma Rule - Red, White, and Blue Next: 2. Correlative Conjunctions