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President Joe Biden’s $3.5-trillion spending plan was thrown into doubt after Joe Manchin, a Democratic Senator of West Virginia, opposed the clean electricity part of the program and the penalization of coal-powered electricity generation.
The Biden Administration has been pushing for legislation on clean energy goals to be included in the spending bill, hopefully to go to the COP26 summit in Glasgow at the end of this month with a plan for fighting climate change. But Senator Manchin of the coal state West Virginia opposes the versions the Democrats have proposed. Senator Manchin’s vote in favor of the plan put forward by Democrats would have been crucial in a divided 50-50 Senate.
“We want to make sure we have reliable power,” Senator Manchin said on Monday. The coal mines “are not going to close,” he added, as carried by Bloomberg.
The senator opposes the proposed Clean Electricity Performance Program, or CEPP—a $150-billion program to incentivize power generating firms to switch from coal and natural gas to clean energy sources such as wind and solar power. The program would also fine utilities that do not switch to green energy sources.
The Biden Administration is pitching CEPP as the key to reaching the goal of having 100 percent of America’s electricity come from zero-emission sources by 2035.
The Democrats are struggling now with including the program in the reconciliation budget because of Senator Manchin’s opposition.
“The CEPP is not going to happen, and they are working on alternatives, but I don’t know any that have been accepted by Manchin or the White House,” a source with knowledge of the talks told NBC News over the weekend.
“The good news is there are a range of good ideas and proposals out there from members of Congress about how this legislation can help meet that goal. And there’s no question in our minds there’s important debating right now happening about what the components of the climate proposals will be in these packages,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
“It is absolutely pivotal that these pieces of legislation have climate components — and they will — to address the climate crisis,” she added.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com