Many Democrats, chief among them President Joe Biden himself, are incessantly trying to force a hasty and premature transition on domestic energy production from abundant and reliable fossil fuels -- like oil, gas, and coal -- to more limited and unreliable renewable sources like solar and wind, but not all Democrats are on board with that effort.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is one of them, and he just called "bulls--t" on the whole thing and accused his fellow Democrats, including the president, of acting to "starve us out of energy" in blind pursuit of their "aspirational" ideas on combating climate change, Fox News reported.
While some may be shocked at what the West Virginia Democrat had to say, it really shouldn't be too surprising given that the senator has long been an outspokenly staunch supporter of the coal production industry that his state heavily relies upon for employment and revenue.
Sen. Manchin's pushback against his own party's energy policy agenda reached a new level this week following President Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday, during which he touted the so-called Inflation Reduction Act as a major victory in terms of dealing with climate change by hastening the transition to more renewable energy sources to meet the nation's needs.
However, Biden admitted at one point in his speech that "We’re still going to need oil and gas for a while," and later in his remarks, while complaining about oil and gas companies not reinvesting profits into increased production due to fears that his policies were aimed at shutting them down eventually, Biden claimed that he told those companies that "We’re going to need oil for at least another decade."
That last line prompted uproarious laughter from the Republicans in the audience, given the absurdity of the idea that the American economy and society could be weaned off oil in just 10 years given the current unquenchable thirst for that plentiful resource and the vast multitude of products that derive from it.
Politico reported that Sen. Manchin, who personally negotiated with President Biden to craft the Inflation Reduction Act at great risk to his own political career and reputation back home, takes exceptional issue with how Biden and other Democrats herald the climate change portions of that law at the expense of provisions he had inserted to help protect the oil, gas, and coal industries.
In fact, Manchin told the outlet that he has been "raising hell" about that with his colleagues as well as on the administration's rushed rollout of a $7,500 tax credit for those who buy electric vehicles and batteries before all of the details have been worked out.
And, rather than view the Inflation Reduction Act as a huge victory for climate change-related efforts, the senator has instead touted the Act as an "American Energy Security" bill, as evidenced by a handout he gave to all of his fellow Senate Democrats at a retreat on Wednesday.
The flyer highlighted certain provisions he was able to include in the law, specifically recognition of the "continued need for fossil fuels and ensures these resources are not arbitrarily eliminated based on political agendas," and a requirement that federal leases for oil and gas production be reinstated and a prohibition against leases for renewables unless oil and gas were authorized, among other things.
"This is bulls--t. So they’re gonna basically starve us out of energy that we have a tremendous, abundant supply of because of their aspirational thoughts?" Manchin told Politico of the swift and forced energy production shift by his fellow Democrats. "I will continue to fight and I’ll do everything I can to make sure the public knows what they’re doing and what it will do to you and your economy and your lifestyle."
The senator said the bill he helped craft "was passed for energy security, not purely for accelerating the environmental pathway. That’s not going to happen until the technology’s there," and added, "It’s not going to happen overnight. They know it. We know it."
The outlet noted that at least one Republican senator was on record in support of his Democratic colleague's rogue stance against his own party on the climate change vs. energy production aspects of the Inflation Reduction Act. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the ranking Republican on the Energy Committee, told Politico of the bill, "It’s clear the Democrats have no clue what they voted for. Only a full repeal would fix it."
Whether any other Democrats will follow Manchin's lead and set aside their lofty ambitions of defeating climate change and instead embrace the current reality of a desperate need for increased domestic production of oil and gas and coal is something that, unfortunately, remains to be seen.