Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) slammed President Biden for making “offensive and disgusting” comments about shutting down coal plants at an event in California on Friday.
Biden gave remarks at the corporate headquarters of Viasat, a global communications company, to promote the CHIPS and Science Act, which he signed into law in August to provide $50 billion in incentives to the domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.
Biden said that generating electricity from wind and solar energy is cheaper than generating it from coal and oil. He said people are not building new coal plants because they cannot rely on it.
“We’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar,” he said.
Manchin said in a statement on Twitter that Biden’s comments ignore the “severe economic pain” that Americans are feeling because of rising energy costs.
“Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden and instead believes he does not understand the need to have an all in energy policy that would keep our nation totally energy independent and secure,” he said.
Manchin, who has been a major advocate for coal plants during his time in the Senate — an industry that is still a large part of West Virginia’s economy — said Biden has never mentioned to him a plan to shut down coal plants. Manchin added that Biden owes an apology to coal workers in West Virginia and across the country who have lost their jobs.
“Being cavalier about the loss of coal jobs for men and women in West Virginia and across the country who literally put their lives on the line to help build and power this country is offensive and disgusting,” Manchin said.
He said Biden’s positions seem to change based on the audience and the politics of the day, and politicizing the country’s energy policies will only lead to higher prices.
Manchin was a key vote in approving Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, a climate, health care and tax package that provided tax credits and incentives for Americans to turn to cleaner energy sources while bolstering some fossil fuel production on public lands.
The White House did not immediately return a request from The Hill for comment.