Union Leader Cecil Roberts, Joe Manchin’s ‘Good Friend,’ Says Fossil Fuel Elimination Is a Deal-Breaker.
President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), Cecil Roberts, told The Washington Newsday on Wednesday that he could not support President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan with its current goal of achieving 80 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035.
The Renewable Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which is part of the plan, is a $150 billion program aimed at increasing the quantity of clean energy provided to customers by 4% per year. Companies who achieve this goal will be rewarded financially, while those that fail will be penalized financially.
According to Roberts, coal-fired power stations could face a series of closures if the proposal is implemented, as they are unlikely to fulfill the timeframes. While coal plants might potentially meet criteria by storing emissions through carbon capture and sequestration, existing technology does not allow for this. According to Roberts, this makes it unworkable, and he does not expect it to catch up by Biden’s suggested dates.
“It wouldn’t be a [deal-breaker] if they said they’re going to eradicate fossil fuels in 50 years,” Roberts told The Washington Newsday. “Right now, it appears like fossil fuels will be phased out by 2030, and that is not something we can accept.” Thousands of coal miners and coal power plant workers could lose their jobs if the CEPP is adopted, according to Roberts. He claimed that this would economically decimate Appalachia, where the coal industry is a major source of jobs and tax money in many communities. Roberts’ home state of West Virginia, which is represented in the United States Senate by his “close friend” Joe Manchin, will bear the brunt of this approach.
Manchin, like Roberts, opposes the CEPP in its current form. When questioned by The Hill on September 30, he stated that natural gas “needs to be” a part of the proposal. Recent reports indicate, however, that he wants to abandon the program entirely, with Politico stating on October 13 that “he wants to abolish” the provision.
Manchin has consistently supported for “innovation, not elimination” when it comes to carbon emissions. He has expressed support for the project. This is a condensed version of the information.