CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — President Joe Biden made remarks suggesting that his administration intends to shut down coal and oil power plants in favor of solar and wind energy while he was in California on Friday talking about the CHIPS and Science Act.

According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training, West Virginia’s coal industry employed 11,333 people as of 2021.

In the remarks, Biden claimed that it is now cheaper to generate electricity from wind and solar than it is from coal and oil, and that when he was at one of the largest coal plants in America about a month ago, he was told that “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.”

“We’re going to be shutting these plants down all across America and having wind and solar,” the president said later on in his remarks.

When renewable energy resources first became cheaper than coal in 2019, USA Today acknowledged that while the change was fueled by the fact that the price of producing power at natural gas plants and with wind and solar had declined dramatically, it was also partially because of clean air requirements and the fact that coal infrastructure is aging.

According to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data available, about 88% of the electricity that West Virginia generated in 2020 was from coal, and it accounted for about 13% of the nation’s total coal production. West Virginia also ranked fourth in total energy production.

The EIA also found West Virginia to be a net exporter of energy, with 229.5 trillion BTUs leaving the state in 2020.

In a statement on Twitter Saturday, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said:

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. Comments like these are the reason the American people are losing trust in President Biden and instead believes he doe not understand the need to have an all in energy policy that would keep our nation totaly energy independent and secure. It seems his positions change depending on the audience and the politics of the day. Politicizing our nation’s energy policies would only bring higher prices and more pain for the American people. Let me be clear, this is something the President has never said to me. 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. The Presiden owes these incredible workers an immediate and public apology and it is time he learn a lesson that words matter and have consequenses.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D, WV)

West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore Monday condemned Biden’s comments, saying:

President Biden has finally said out loud what we’ve known all along: He and his liberal allies want to shut down the coal, oil and natural gas industries and force Americans into more expensive and unreliable forms of energy.

This must be stopped – and that’s why we’ve been fighting for the past two years against the radical anti-fossil fuel agenda being pursued by his Administration and their pro-ESG globalist allies on Wall Street.

Make no mistake: If Biden and his allies in the ESG movement succeed, Americans will see energy prices soar far higher than where they have been so far this year. The crippling inflation we see now will be nothing compared to where they want to take us.

This is why we must be unrelenting in our fight against this Administration’s agenda and that of their woke corporate allies. If the ESG movement succeeds, Biden’s dream of shutting down all coal, oil and natural gas plants will come about and Americans will literally be left out in the cold.

Our growing coalition has consistently said we will never bend the knee to this un-American agenda, and we will continue to stand up for the American people and their access to affordable, reliable sources of energy.

West Virginia State Treasurer Riley Moore