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Biden comments on coal-fired plants slammed by Manchin ahead of U.S. midterms

Commodities Nov 05, 2022 02:11PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz 2/2
 
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By Trevor Hunnicutt

JOLIET, Ill. (Reuters) -Comments by President Joe Biden about shutting coal-powered energy plants days before critical midterm elections drew fire on Saturday 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 remark 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 prices, along with the economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pennsylvania, where Biden was scheduled to campaign later on Saturday, is both a major producer and consumer of coal. Tuesday's midterms will determine whether Democrats retain control of Congress and hinge on races like the one for an open Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

Senator Joe Manchin, who represents coal-producing West Virginia, said on Saturday Biden's remarks 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 totally energy independent and secure," Manchin said in a statement. "It seems his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day."

Later on Saturday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the comment was intended to highlight the country's energy transition.

"The President's remarks yesterday have been twisted to suggest a meaning that was not intended; he regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense," Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

"He is determined to make sure that this transition helps all Americans in all parts of the country, with more jobs and better opportunities; it's a commitment he has advanced since Day One. No one will be left behind," she added.

Biden has long made shifting the United States from fossil fuels a part of his program to address climate change and reduce 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 nation's greenhouse gases and Biden campaigned on a pledge to cut net emissions to zero by 2035.

U.S. carbon emissions from the power sector have already 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 decreasing prices for these sources and state and federal incentives for renewable energy.

Biden comments on coal-fired plants slammed by Manchin ahead of U.S. midterms
 

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Comments (13)
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey Nov 07, 2022 9:14AM ET
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how were they twisted? it's direct quotes from him...
Michael Mcdonough
Michael Mcdonough Nov 07, 2022 6:04AM ET
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Biden spin merchants doing damage control..it really is a Comedy Show..
Michael Mcdonough
Michael Mcdonough Nov 07, 2022 6:04AM ET
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Biden spin merchants doing damage control..it really is a Comedy Show..
Midnight Trader
Midnight Trader Nov 06, 2022 10:34PM ET
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We are smart enough to ween ourselves off of the dirtiest fuel out there
gab nea
gab nea Nov 06, 2022 10:25AM ET
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like coal, old school senators like Manchin, graham and some others are obsolete also!
Wayne Cammack
Wayne Cammack Nov 06, 2022 10:25AM ET
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Yes!!!
David CA
ILoveQE Nov 05, 2022 6:25PM ET
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I'm guessing Manuchim made a deal to pass/support the Inflation Reduction Act (Build Back Better) as long as WV could keep coal...and now the bait and switch...the WH meat muppet turned on him.
Zhehui Jin
Zhehui Jin Nov 05, 2022 6:21PM ET
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If you look at the data from 2005 to 2019, coal power plant fraction decreases from 40% to sub 20%, wind and solar rose up to 10 %, while natural gas makes the biggest gain from 19% to 36%. Sure, natural gas is cleaner than coal, but one important aspect is that this period concises with US shale boom dramatically lowering natural gas prices. US has abundant natural gas, while it can import Canadian gas as well. The fraction of wind and solar would increase, but they might face a ceiling if mineral prices keep skyrocketing (massive demand driven). How it unfolds depends on finances and policies
Zhehui Jin
Zhehui Jin Nov 05, 2022 6:13PM ET
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If they shut down all the remaining coal power plant, in the short term they would need to rely on more natural gas based power plant. Wind and solar are just unstable
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 05, 2022 4:34PM ET
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poisoning the planet and turning it into an uninhabitable desert is not the way to go. coal is by far the most destructive way to produce energy
Tom Cur
Tom Cur Nov 05, 2022 3:50PM ET
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It is insane to think that solar and wind will make our country energy independent, it is impossible to power our industry and manufacturing with it. That is an utopia. FOLLOW advice from proffesional engineers not politicians. Just look whatbit is hsppening in Europe with those ideologies. Future is nuclear plants and find better ways to store reactive residuals which I think we will get it transported to another planet, Follow france footprint which it is the less affected Europe country by energy crisis as tge kept their nuclear plants. Same as vehicles, Future is hydrogen not electric cars, the problem is that elites do not want that because they will lose tax income as the can not tax the water from where we will get the hydrogen reaction
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Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Nov 05, 2022 3:50PM ET
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19th century mindset..
Tom Cur
Tom Cur Nov 05, 2022 3:50PM ET
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Mr Cummins. I never said the fossil fuel is the future. Nuclear and hydrogen. Neither solar nor wind will give the energy to run the world. It is like they think that electrical cars are the solution right now. There is not infrastructure created for that. If every body het an electric car and put it to charge those 4kw or 7kw or 15kw chargers per household will take the grid down or even lot of houses do not even have the electrocal capacity for it. BTW, I'm an engineer
Kevin Ghirardi
Kevin Ghirardi Nov 05, 2022 3:50PM ET
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Chris Cummins limited how?
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Nov 05, 2022 3:50PM ET
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Finite.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Nov 05, 2022 3:50PM ET
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Kevin Ghirardi  Why are you confused? There are things called renewable resources and then there are resources that are not and do not renew. Even Exxon predicts oil will run out in 50 years....but the GOP will still be taking money from the oil guys and bowing to them...very pathetic and small-minded.
 
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