Biden's Remarks on Coal-fired Plants Slammed by Manchin ahead of US Midterm

On Saturday comments by President Joe Biden about shutting coal-powered energy plants days before critical midterm elections drew fire from a key conservative Senate Democrat.

“No one is building new coal plants because they can’t rely on it, even if they have all the coal guaranteed for the rest of their existence of the plant,” Biden said on Friday at an event touting his administration’s economic policies in Carlsbad, California. “We’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar.”

The comment cast light on a touchy political issue for Biden and his fellow Democrats – inflation near four-decade peaks – that voters say is their top concern. Higher energy costs following Russia’s war in Ukraine have helped lift costs, along with the economic rebound from the COVID pandemic.

Pennsylvania, where Biden was planned to campaign later on Saturday, is both a major producer and buyer of coal. Tuesday’s midterms will decide whether Democrats retain control of Congress and depend on races like the one for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

Senator Joe Manchin, who represents coal-producing West Virginia, said Biden’s comments were outrageous and divorced from reality while also dismissing the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs.

“Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden and instead believe he does not understand the need to have an all-in energy policy that would keep our nation energy independent and secure,” Manchin said in a statement. “It seems his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day.”

Biden has long made shifting the United States from fossil fuels a part of his program to address environmental change and diminish carbon emissions. He plans to travel to the COP27 climate summit in Egypt just two days after the congressional elections.

The power industry is the source of a quarter of the country’s greenhouse gases and Biden campaigned on a vow to cut net emissions to zero by 2035.

U.S. carbon emissions from the power sector have proactively dropped sharply in recent years as utilities retire old coal-fired power plants in favor of natural gas, solar and wind power – a shift driven by diminishing costs for these sources and state and federal incentives for renewable energy.

By Archana

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