March 01, 2022

Manchin Again Calls On Biden Administration To Ban Russian Oil Imports And Act Quickly To Ensure American Energy Independence And Security

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to consider pending legislation. In his opening remarks, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, criticized the hypocrisy of importing Russian crude oil amid their invasion of Ukraine and again urged the Biden Administration to ban the ongoing importation of Russian crude oil and petroleum products and act quickly to ensure American energy independence and security.

“I want to take a moment to acknowledge Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how Putin has used energy as a weapon to gain leverage over our European allies. One thing that hasn’t been talked about as much is that during this time of war, the United States is still importing more than half a million barrels per day of crude oil and other petroleum products from Russia, with imports up over 20% in 2021 over 2020. It makes no sense at all for us to rely on energy from a country that is actively engaging in acts of war against a freedom seeking democracy – Ukraine – when we are blessed with abundant energy resources right here in America. There is no reason why the United States should not be totally energy independent, or at the very least trading with our allies where we need to. That is the only way to ensure our energy security.  It is hypocritical for us ask others to do what we can do – and we can do cleaner – when it comes to producing the energy we and our allies need. It’s time for the Administration to take strong action to unleash American energy, up to and including banning Russian oil imports at a time when they are attacking our allies,” Chairman Manchin said.

During the hearing, the Committee examined 7 pieces of legislation, including Chairman Manchin’s bipartisan Department of Energy (DOE) Science for the Future Act and Fission for the Future Act. Both Chairman Manchin and the Honorable Dr. Geraldine Richmond, Undersecretary for Science and Innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy praised the bills as incredible opportunities for West Virginia and communities across the nation.

“[My bipartisan Fission for the Future Act] directs the Secretary of Energy to work with communities with retiring or retired fossil generation facilities to determine the feasibility of constructing advanced nuclear power plants. This bill is an important building block to assist in the economic revitalization of communities providing reliable baseload electricity and opportunities to attract industry to produce advanced materials, hydrogen, and other non-electric applications,” said Chairman Manchin. "In the context of the upcoming U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and America COMPETES Act conference, Chairman Manchin also noted that the DOE Science for the Future Act reauthorizes “a critical piece of the United States’ ability to advance human knowledge of the sciences, and in carrying out that mission, it advances a critical – and ultimately nonpartisan – aspect of our society.”

“The DOE Science for the Future Act recognizes and reinforces the importance of the DOE’s Office of Science and the community of researchers it supports, both at DOE’s National Laboratories and at U.S. colleges and universities, to advance all of the DOE missions, including energy, security, and environmental management. At the same time, the Committee, through this legislation, has clearly stated the importance of the Office of Science in addressing a much broader range of science and technology challenges. These challenges include addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the security of our supported research, both of which require close coordination with other Federal departments and agencies. This is an ambitious bill, and I commend the Committee for its vision,” said Dr. Richmond.

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Dr. Geraldine Richmond, Undersecretary for Science and Innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy. To read her testimony and to view the legislation considered today, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Machin's opening remarks, please click here.
To watch the hearing in full, please click here.