Manchin: Biden’s Coal Comments ‘Divorced From Reality’

Manchin: Biden’s Coal Comments ‘Divorced From Reality’

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) – President Joe Biden on Saturday he criticized West Virginia Senator Joe ManchinDemocratic antagonist and ally, for being “cavalier” and “disconnected from reality” after vowing to shut down coal plants and rely more on wind and solar power in the future.

A powerful coal state lawmaker said Biden’s words “ignore the severe economic pain” people are facing from higher energy prices and are why Americans are “losing confidence” in Biden. Manchin’s scathing rebuke of his party’s leaders comes at a precarious time for Democrats in the final weekend of pre-campaigning Elections on Tuesday it could return Republicans to power in Congress.

Manchin called for a public apology, and The White House later released a statement saying that Biden’s words were “twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended” and that the president “regrets if anyone who heard these remarks was offended.”

Biden raised Manchin’s ire with his mention of coal power during a speech on Friday in Carlsbad, California, to highlight his $280 billion plan semiconductor industry and scientific research.

“I was in Massachusetts about a month ago at the site of the largest old coal-fired power plant in America. Guess what? It cost them too much money,” Biden said. “No one is building new coal-fired power plants because they cannot rely on it, even if they have all the coal guaranteed until the end of the power plant’s existence. So it will become the wind generation,” added Biden. “We’re going to shut down these power plants across America and have wind and solar.”

Biden visited a former coal-fired thermal power plant July in Massachusetts. The former Brayton Point power station in Somerset is moving to offshore wind energy manufacturing, and Biden chose her as the epitome of the clean energy transition he is seeking, including the comprehensive climate and health care bill he passed with Manchin’s help in August.

Former President Donald Trump promised to revive coal and restore mining jobs, but the industry’s decade-long decline has continued as utilities increasingly turn to cheaper natural gas — and now to renewable energy like wind and solar — to generate electricity. The Directorate for Energy Informationgovernment agency, reports an annual average of 39,518 employees in US coal mines in 2021, compared to 91,611 in 2011, 51,795 in 2016 and 42,159 in 2020. Wyoming is the leader in coal production.

Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement that Biden’s remarks “are not only outrageous and disconnected from reality, but ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling due to rising energy costs.”

Such remarks, Manchin said, “are why the American people are losing confidence in President Biden. … His positions seem to change daily depending on the audience and the politics of the day.”

Manchin, whose support was key that Biden won passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which included the largest investment in climate programs in US history, blasted Biden for his “offensive and disgusting” words and said the president owed West Virginia coal workers an “immediate and public apology” .

“To be clear, that’s something the president never told me. It is insulting and disgusting to be cavalier about the coal jobs of the men and women in West Virginia and across the country who have literally put their lives on the line to help build and strengthen this country,” Manchin. He added that “it’s time for him to learn the lesson that his words matter and have consequences.”

The White House said Biden was “commenting on the facts of the economy and technology” at a time when the country is undertaking an “energy transition” that he is working to ensure “more jobs and better opportunities.” … No one will be left behind.”

The EIA projects that coal generation is expected to fall from 22.5% of US electricity in 2021 to 21.1% in 2022, before falling to 19.9% ​​in 2023 – the same share of coal generation as in 2020 .when production hit its lowest level in decades, due in part to COVID-19. Natural gas is expected to offset some of coal’s declining share in 2022 and beyond. Coal generated more than 40% of US electricity in 2011 before the sharp decline caused by the fracking boom.

End of 2021 Manchin torpedoed Biden’s major domestic policy bill, which led to a sharp response from the White House to the lawmaker whose vote is key in the 50-50 Senate. Biden’s press secretary called Manchin’s opposition, first reported on Sunday’s newscast, a “sudden and inexplicable reversal of his position” and a “breach of his obligations” to Biden and congressional Democrats.

Then, last summer, Manchin suddenly reversed course and supported a revised bill that became law with only Democratic votes.


Daly reported from Washington.


Follow AP election coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections. And check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

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