The vice president has announced his plan to revive coal, saying that the industry would be better off if it were not so dependent on dirty coal.
“If we want to be an energy superpower, we’re going to need clean, abundant, affordable energy,” Biden said during his first major speech as president on Tuesday, calling for a clean, affordable and reliable energy future.
Biden’s plan is a departure from previous efforts to revive the industry, which have focused on extracting more coal from the ground.
In the past, the president has argued that it’s not necessary to mine the fossil fuels for electricity.
Biden told the crowd that the energy industry needs to be “reformed,” saying that it must make the best of its resource, rather than trying to extract more of the same.
The president is also going to push to increase investments in clean energy in order to “rebuild our nation and build our economy,” he said.
The announcement came after months of speculation over whether the president would embrace a more “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.
The plan would see the United States ramp up investments in renewable energy, nuclear power, solar power, geothermal power and tidal power, all of which are more reliant on fossil fuels than coal.
Biden made clear that the goal of the president’s energy strategy is to “build a more clean, safe, affordable, and reliable economy,” but he said it should not “lead to the destruction of a industry that produces more than 20 percent of our energy.”
Biden said that coal miners and coal plants were a “critical part of our economy, and we need to make sure that our economy remains competitive.”
He also noted that many coal plants had shut down because of the economic downturn, citing the closure of a coal-fired power plant in Kentucky that was responsible for almost a third of the coal fired electricity in the state.
But he said the president wants to make the “full and complete recovery” of the industry.
“We have an enormous amount of coal in this country, and so we have to figure out how we’re gonna get rid of it, but we’ve got to do it smart, and there’s got to be some kind of a cost for that, and then we can all go home,” Biden told a crowd of cheering supporters.
The vice presidency is expected to sign an executive order to make changes to the nation’s fuel rules on Tuesday afternoon, including a reduction in the amount of gasoline the government sells to the public.
Biden said he would also introduce a new rule for coal-powered electric vehicles.
Biden, who has called himself a “pioneer” in the effort to revive clean energy, made his announcement at a rally for President-elect Donald Trump.