West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has vowed to block any of President Joe Biden’s nominations for the Environmental Protection Agency over the president’s plan to shut down power plants that use fossil fuels.
The EPA is expected to release new guidelines this week requiring power plants that rely on coal or natural gas to either significantly reduce or capture their emissions by 2024.
Manchin is the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“Neither the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or the [Inflation Reduction Act] gave new authority to regulate power plant emission standards,” said Machin, who voted for the IRA, while speaking with Fox Digital News on May 10.
“However, I fear that this Administration’s commitment to their extreme ideology overshadows their responsibility to ensure long-lasting energy and economic security and I will oppose all EPA nominees until they halt their government overreach,” he said.
According to Fox News, 3,393 power plants in America use fossil fuel – primarily natural gas – to generate 60% of the country’s electricity. Wind and solar power generate 14% of the nation’s electricity.
“This Administration is determined to advance its radical climate agenda and has made it clear they are hellbent on doing everything in their power to regulate coal and gas-fueled power plants out of existence, no matter the cost to energy security and reliability,” said Manchin.
The Democrat noted that “if the reports are true,” the EPA’s new regulations will “impact nearly all fossil-fueled power plants in the United States… without an adequate plan to replace the lost baseload generation.”
“This piles on top of a broader regulatory agenda being rolled out designed to kill the fossil industry by a thousand cuts,” Manchin added.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that the EPA does not have the authority to regulate climate change or to mandate a shift to renewable energy sources.
“Congress did not grant EPA…the authority to devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the Agency took in the Clean Power Plan,” the court wrote in its majority decision, per The Hill.
While campaigning for the presidency in 2020, Biden vowed to end the national use of fossil fuels and that there would be “no more coal plants.”
“We are going to get rid of fossil fuels,” Biden said at a rally in February of 2020.
As president, Biden set the goal of achieving a national carbon-free power industry by 2035 and making America a net zero-emission economy by 2050.
“There are multiple paths to reach these goals, and the U.S. federal, state, local, and tribal governments have many tools available to work with civil society and the private sector to mobilize investment to meet these goals while supporting a strong economy,” noted the White House in its April 22, 2021 fact sheet. “America must act— and not just the federal government, but cities and states, small and big business, working communities.”