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Manchin’s Upset Biden Told The Truth About His Plan To Kill Coal

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Every so often President Biden blurts out what he really thinks, even if it’s politically or diplomatically embarrassing.

He did it again Friday when he said his Administration will shut down coal plants across America.

While true, his comment won’t help Democratic Senate candidates or West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. [bold, links added]

Mr. Biden’s campaign remarks in Carlsbad, Calif., were supposed to be about the semiconductor bill and his “unity agenda.”

But during a riff on Democrats’ tax and climate spending bill, he let slip that “we’re going to be shutting [coal] plants down all across America and having wind and solar.

The boast drew an indignant response from Mr. Manchin, whose state is a top coal producer and generates some 90% of its electricity from coal.

“President Biden’s comments are not only outrageous and divorced from reality, they ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs,” Mr. Manchin said.

“Let me be clear,” he added, “This is something the President has never said to me.” Maybe not, but if Mr. Biden’s comments came as a shock, the Senator must not be paying attention.

The main purpose of the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act Mr. Manchin negotiated with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was to drive coal plants, and over time all fossil fuels, out of business.

Eight state coal associations sent a letter to Mr. Manchin warning the legislation will “severely threaten American coal” in part by “turbocharging the lofty incentives that already extend to renewable energy.”

Generous subsidies for wind and solar have made coal power uncompetitive in wholesale markets.

Coal plants can’t cover their costs by running only some of the time. Mr. Manchin said the companies were wrong in a reply letter.

About one-third of the country’s coal plants have retired since 2008. The super green subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act will accelerate coal plant retirements.

Biden officials have also teased new regulations that are intended to raise coal plant costs and force more shutdowns, which will kill thousands of jobs and make power less reliable.

Mr. Manchin bought a bill of climate goods but preferred not to admit it. Now he will have to watch the Administration put West Virginians out of work, and he will have voted for it.

As for Mr. Biden’s point that wind and solar are cheaper than coal, that’s only because of taxpayer subsidies and the fact that their intermittency is backed up by fossil fuels.

A White House statement on Saturday tried damage control by praising Mr. Manchin and boasting about Mr. Biden’s effort to bring “new energy” and manufacturing jobs to West Virginia:

“He regrets it if anyone hearing these remarks took offense. The President was commenting on a fact of economics and technology” and “our goal as a nation is to combat climate change.”

Note the Administration didn’t disavow the President’s remarks.

No doubt Democrats running for Senate in Ohio (Tim Ryan), Pennsylvania (John Fetterman), and Wisconsin (Mandela Barnes)—states where economies and electric grids depend on coal—hope voters didn’t hear what Mr. Biden said.

But voters should know what they’re voting for, even if Mr. Manchin now claims he didn’t.

Read more at WSJ

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