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Manchin rips Biden official for ignoring federal law on energy production: ‘Tired of asking again and again’

Sen. Joe Manchin on Tuesday tore into Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for ignoring federal law that requires fossil fuel and critical mineral development, and for the first delay in U.S. history in developing a five-year offshore oil and gas lease sale plan. At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Manchin told Haaland that he and other senators are “tired” of asking about these delays month after month with no clear answers. “Secretary Haaland, when it comes to these energy and mineral programs that are so crucial to our energy and national security, I must say, for the last few years, it has felt like we are repeating the same conversations and having the same talks over and over,” Manchin said. “I’m tired, and I know the members of this committee are tired, of asking again and again, when will we see progress on the action required by law, and being told ‘soon,’ and ‘we are working on it.’” BIDEN ADMIN LAUNCHES FIRST ‘OFFSHORE WIND LEASE SALE’ IN GULF OF MEXICO AS OIL, GAS LEASES GRIND TO HALT “We need and deserve better answers than that,” he said. Manchin used the hearing to accuse Haaland and the entire administration of ignoring language in the Inflation Reduction Act that said the government cannot explore offshore wind or onshore wind and solar production unless it continues to develop offshore oil and gas. “We tied that to the IRA,” he said. “You cannot do offshore wind, you cannot do onshore wind or solar unless we are extracting the resources that the good Lord has given us. “You can feel our frustration on what’s going on here. It seems like we’re flagging it every day,” he added. BIDEN ADMIN WEIGHS COMPLETE BLOCK ON OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING AS GAS PRICES KEEP RISING As evidence that the administration is slow-walking fossil fuel development, Manchin noted several times that officials failed to develop a five-year offshore oil and gas leasing plan by last summer’s deadline. Industry experts have said that delay would hurt U.S. oil and gas development in the years ahead and have noted that the only offshore oil and gas leases that have taken place under Biden have been those ordered by Congress or the courts. “We’ve never even had a gap between programs before, never a gap, let alone the year and a half delay that we’re expecting now,” Manchin said of the delayed five-year plan. “In fact, we talked about this exact issue at this same hearing last year.” “The lack of progress with this program combined with the lack of advanced preparation for 2024 sales unfortunately sends a signal that you have no intention of holding any offshore lease sales in 2024, after the final mandatory sale in September 2023,” Manchin added. When asked about the delayed plan in the hearing, Haaland blamed the Trump administration and said it should be ready several months from now. “The reason the five-year plan is behind is because the previous administration dropped the ball and stopped working on the plan,” she said. “Our staff picked it up, they started working on it, we expect the final plan out in September.” SEN. MANCHIN DRAGGED ON TWITTER FOR CRITICIZING BIDEN’S INFLATION REDUCTION ACT AFTER HE CAST PIVOTAL VOTE Manchin also said the administration is failing to follow the 2021 infrastructure law that calls for more permitting of critical mineral development. “In my view, Interior’s failure to comply with laws Congress has passed is not a question of funding, it’s a question of misplaced priorities, or perhaps a willingness to ignore certain requirements,” Manchin said. He also argued that remarks last week from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre are more proof that the Biden administration is doing all it can to slow down and stop oil and gas development. Last week, she said the administration is implementing all the energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, “including parts that we don’t like” such as elements that “don’t have anything to do with clean energy.” “American oil and gas is certainly clean energy compared to what the administration is considering importing from Venezuela, and morally cleaner than lifting sanctions on Iran,” Manchin argued. “I don’t know why we just can’t work together, I don’t know why we can’t agree that we need a balanced approach,” he said.

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