Sen. Joe Manchin slams Biden’s “disgusting” remarks about thermal power plants

Sen. Joe Manchin slams Biden’s “disgusting” remarks about thermal power plants

Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, speaks at a community gathering.

Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) speaks at a community event. Photo: Gaelen Morse/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) condemned President Biden’s recent comments about shutting down coal-burning power plants on Saturday, calling them “outrageous and out of touch with reality.”

Why it matters: Manchin’s state is one of the states the largest producers of coal and gas. The suitable for coal the senator and the president reached an agreement on adoption Inflation Reduction Actclimate-focused bill in August.

Get up to speed quickly: Biden he said on Friday during a speech in California on CHIPS Act that coal plants cost too much money and that his administration is “going to close these plants across America and have wind and solar.”

  • Biden said he recently visited “the site of the largest old coal plant in America” ​​in Massachusetts, which cost “too much money.”
  • “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,” said Biden.

reaction: Manchin said Biden’s comments “ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling due to rising energy costs.”

  • “Comments like these are why the American people are losing confidence in President Biden and instead believe he doesn’t understand the need for a comprehensive energy policy to keep our nation fully energy independent and secure.”
  • “His positions seem to change depending on the audience and the politics of the day. Politicizing our nation’s energy policy would only bring higher prices and more pain for the American people,” he added.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended Biden’s remarks in a statement released Saturday, saying the president’s “remarks yesterday were twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets if anyone who heard these remarks was offended.”

  • “The president commented on a fact of economics and technology: As it has since its earliest days as an energy superpower, America is once again in the midst of an energy transition,” the statement added.
  • “Under President Biden, oil and natural gas production has increased, and we are on track to have the highest production in our country’s history next year. He is determined to ensure that this transition helps all Americans in all parts of the country, with more jobs and better possibilities.”
  • “President Biden knows that the men and women of coal country built this nation: they powered its steel mills and factories, kept its homes, schools and offices warm. They made this the most productive and powerful nation on Earth.”

Yes, but: Manchin said Biden never told him personally about the plan to close coal plants and called on the president to publicly apologize.

  • “It is insulting and despicable to be cavalier about losing coal jobs to 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 said.

Big picture: Recently, interest in coal has been renewed due to the global energy crisis brought about by the war in Ukraine, Axios’ Matt Phillips writes. Coal prices rose as a result.

  • Bringing in coal could lead to higher carbon emissions associated with electricity, which the world wants to reduce, Phillips writes.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details and includes a statement from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

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