Manchin Raises Concerns About Venting And Flaring

November 7, 2019

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.

Washington, DC – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine federal revenues derived from energy development on federal and Indian lands as well as federal offshore areas and programs that share those revenues with state, local and tribal governments. They received testimony on the following bills:

  • S. 2418, to amend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 to modify a definition and the disposition and authorized uses of qualified outer Continental Shelf revenues under that Act and to exempt State and county payments under that Act from sequestration, to provide for the distribution of certain outer Continental Shelf revenues to the State of Alaska, and for other purposes (Cassidy); and
  • S. 2666, to promote the development of renewable energy on public land, and for other purposes (McSally).

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Committee, raised his concerns about venting and flaring of natural gas on public lands.

“When gas is vented and flared for purely economic reasons, that gas never makes it to the market, the royalty is never collected, and not one of us benefits at all. And they give me the excuse that there’s no pipelines, they don’t have a gathering system – we can fix that, but we should not be venting this. One easy way to increase revenue is to ensure the most gas possible reaches the market and a royalty is collected.  That will require a conversation about pipeline infrastructure, which we will do. But these are important conversations because reducing venting and flaring on public lands is not only a taxpayer fairness issue to all of us, it’s a positive step towards addressing climate change. It’s a big win-win, for all of us,” Ranking Member Manchin said.

Ranking Member Manchin also pressed Gregory Gould, Director of the Office of Natural Resources Revenue at the U.S. Department of the Interior about how much natural gas is being flared on federal lands.

“Do you have any estimation of how much we’re losing – how much is being flared on federal lands,” Ranking Member Manchin asked. “Could you get that – that doesn’t seem like a hard number to get because you know how much production, and you know how much flaring based on production, so that wouldn’t be hard to calculate.”

“We’re working with them on those numbers. They have to go through and see what is avoidable and not in the production process, so those numbers have to be backed out,” Director Gould said.

“What timeframe do you think maybe we could get those answers?” Ranking Member Manchin said.

“I’ll work with BLM to see what we can do about getting you those numbers,” Director Gould said.

The hearing also featured testimony from the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress, the North Slope Borough, Alaska, Louisiana Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority Board and the State of Wyoming. To read their testimonies, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.