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Biden tours plant funded by Inflation Reduction Act, takes shots at Boebert for opposing subsidies

While the President Biden has Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert in his crosshairs, his polls show he's just as vulnerable. He defended his record of "Bidenomics" and the economy during the tour.

Published: November 29, 2023 11:00pm

President Joe Biden used a tour of the world’s largest wind manufacturing facility in Colorado to promote his Inflation Reduction Act, defend his record on the economy, and take some shots at Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.

Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., told Just The News that it makes little sense for the president to defend his record on the economy by pointing to renewable energy subsidies. "The president is traveling to Colorado to take credit for the unchecked money laundering of our tax dollars through a bunch of unaccountable agencies in Washington D.C. who spend their time seeking to destroy those very industries that produce the affordable energy that is necessary to fund the boondoggle industries that cannot survive without massive federal subsidies,” Hageman said.

The 3 million square-foot South Korean-owned CS Wind plant in Pueblo that Biden toured today broke ground earlier this year, and is now planning an expansion, funded by tax dollars from Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“CS Wind recently announced it is expanding operations and creating hundreds of jobs as a direct result of the Inflation Reduction Act which self-described MAGA [Make America Great Again] Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert called dangerous for America, a massive failure, and bad for Colorado’s Third District,” the White House said in a primer for the president’s visit.

It wasn’t the first time the president complained about Boebert's opposing the IRA, which poured $400 billion into a wide range of renewable energy projects. In August, while touring a wind turbine manufacturing facility in New Mexico, Biden referred to the CS Wind plant construction and noted that Boebert had opposed the subsidies that created it.

“Coincidentally, CS Wind is Congresswoman Lauren Boebert — you know, the very quiet Republican lady? — it’s in her district,” Biden said. In his speech at the CS Wind plant today, Biden again criticized Boebert and Republicans who opposed the IRA, referring to Boebert as a “congressman.”

“The historic investments we're celebrating today is in Congressman Boebert’s district. She's one of the leaders of this extreme MAGA movement. She, along with every single Republican colleague, voted against the law that made these investments in jobs possible. That's not hyperbole. That's a fact,” Biden said.

Boebert posted a number of comments on X, reacting the the president’s speech.

“Joe Biden is taking a break from his lavish vacations to come to Pueblo to talk about what he calls ‘clean energy,’” Boebert said in one post. “He should be coming here to apologize for his all out war on on fossil fuels and his Green New Deal agenda which have cost the great people of Colorado’s 3rd District dearly."

It’s likely the president has Boebert in his crosshairs because her grip on her House seat is slipping. It represents an opportunity for the Democrats to undermine the Republican majority in the House in the 2024 election.  

An August poll showed Boebert trailing slightly behind her likely Democratic challenger in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Adam Frisch. Frisch lost to Boebert in the 2022 midterm elections. The poll came out prior to a public incident in which Boebert was ejected from a theater for vaping, for which she later apologized. Despite the apology, the controversy gave ammunition to Frisch, as well as her challenger in the primary, Grand Junction-based attorney Jeff Hurd.

Biden, however, is also vulnerable. Multiple polls show him trailing behind former President Donald Trump, and the economy is proving to be a concern for voters, according to polls.

During Wednesday’s speech, Biden defended his record, pointing to low unemployment rates and claiming inflation is down. “Let me be clear, any corporation that is not passing the savings onto consumers needs to stop this price gouging,” Biden said.

While Biden took credit for the taxpayer-driven investments in green energies, that industry has not been as successful as the petroleum industry that Biden has long opposed. The Biden administration had pushed to get two-thirds of all future cars produced to be electric-powered, but slim consumer demand has left dealers' lots full of EVs. Automakers have pulled back on their EV commitments, and thousands of dealerships wrote directly to the president this week to ask him to reconsider the plan.

The offshore wind industry has seen projects canceled and contracts renegotiated as a result of rising costs and supply chain issues. Solar, wind, and hydrogen companies saw their stocks tumble in the past year.
Rep. Hageman pointed out that the president hasn’t had much to say about these problems.

“It is worth noting where Biden didn’t go – no trip to New Jersey to talk about the abject failure of a $300 million offshore wind project; No trip to Texas, where wind turbines have been known to freeze over, malfunction, and leave hundreds of thousands of people without heat in the dead of winter – so many missed photo-ops,” Hageman said.

Chelsie Miera, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, told Just The News that as much as Biden talks about recovery, families in the West Slope aren’t feeling it. The West Slope refers to Colorado’s western half, which includes Boebert’s district. It also includes the Piceance Basin, which is the second largest natural gas reserves in the country.

"Inflation continues to keep costs high, challenging family budgets, while uncertainty looms over our national economy. Our local oil and natural gas workers stand ready to recover, but this administration continues to block and stymie our production of some of the cleanest and most dense energy molecules in the world,” Miera said.

While oil production in the U.S. is reaching record highs this year, production on federal lands where the Biden administration has the most control, is seeing significant declines between fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022, according to the Western Energy Alliance.

A majority of the Piceance Basin, Miera said, is managed as federal land, and Colorado's natural gas production is down 18.4% in fiscal year 2022 over the previous year. “We have not had one lease sale in CD 3 [Congressional District 3] during this administration, further burdening local counties and municipalities with reduced revenues for our rural schools, fire protection districts, libraries, water treatment facilities and critical projects to promote tourism and outdoor recreation,” Miera said.

The CS Wind plant is expected to create 850 jobs in Colorado, but it’s not the first time the company has surfed upon a wave of public support on the promise of jobs. That promise evaporated.

According to Canadian newspaper The Windsor Star, in 2011 CS Wind received $10 million from the Ontario, Canada, provincial government, to set up a manufacturing facility in Windsor that would supply wind towers for three wind turbine manufacturers. The incentives CS Wind received included an agreement that Ontario would buy energy from the company at above-market rates.

The plant officially closed in 2019 and laid off hundreds of workers.