February 08, 2022

Interior Nominee: Manchin's Leadership On Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Ensured Crucial Support To Coal Communities

Manchin questions nominee on status of Mountain Valley Pipeline, stresses importance of American energy independence

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to consider the nominations of Ms. Maria D. Robinson to be Assistant Secretary of Energy for the Office of Electricity, Dr. Joseph F. DeCarolis to be Administrator of the Energy Information Administration, and Ms. Laura Daniel-Davis to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management. In her opening remarks, Ms. Daniel-Davis praised committee Chairman U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) leadership in ensuring the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included provisions to support coal communities across the country.

“[The Department of the Interior is] so appreciative of the bipartisan support and for the opportunity to work you to improve our country's infrastructure and to improve people’s lives. Just yesterday, Secretary Haaland had the opportunity to announce additional funding for abandoned mine reclamation to communities across the country. I know that you, Chairman Manchin, worked tirelessly to extend the abandoned mine land program and to ensure and secure the supplemental funding. These resources are going to allow communities to do more to put more people to work in well-paying, family supporting jobs to accelerate this vital reclamation and restoration work and support local economies. Last week, Secretary Haaland announced the first tranche of formula funding for states to begin addressing the capping of oil and gas wells and these resources will provide jobs and economic support for hundreds of impacted communities, historic investments to clean up these areas and ensure that we catalyze economic growth and revitalization, and reduce harmful methane leaks,” said Ms. Daniel-Davis.

As a result of Chairman Manchin’s leadership on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, West Virginia will receive unprecedented levels of funding to reclaim abandoned mine lands and clean up orphaned oil and gas wells. These historic investments will drive local economic growth, create good-paying jobs and help ensure the health and safety of communities across the state.

Chairman Manchin later questioned Ms. Daniel-Davis on the status of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the need to ensure American energy security.
“The market desperately needs the energy we’re producing from natural gas. But we’re having a hard time, I fear we’re going to end up like Europe and be in a crunch. Right now, it’s hard for me to go to West Virginia and explain why we’re asking other countries to produce energy for us when we’ve been energy independent for so long,” said Chairman Manchin. “How quickly will the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which you oversee, correct and reissue its permit [for the Mountain Valley Pipeline].”

“At the [Interior] Department, the Solicitor’s Office and the BLM are the leads and are looking at recent litigation rulings. I will agree with you that this is the second time it’s been sent back and deficiencies in the review of the federal entities has been identified as the issue. We are working closely with the Solicitor’s Office, Forest Service, and Fish and Wildlife service [to address the issue],” said Ms. Daniel-Davis.

“I’d like to spend more time with you so we can correct this,” replied Chairman Manchin.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.
To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.
To read the nominees’ testimony, please click here.
To watch the hearing in full, please click here.