Manchin Presses Berhardt On AML, Climate & Offshore Drilling

March 28, 2019

Bernhardt commits to working with Manchin to extend Abandoned Mine Land funding 

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 U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee considered the nomination of Mr. David Bernhardt to be Secretary of the Interior. Mr. Bernhardt currently serves as the Acting Secretary of the Interior. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, questioned Acting Secretary Bernhardt about the importance of extending Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funding, the role climate science will play as he implements policy proposals and the Administration’s proposal to increase offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast.  

“The Abandoned Mine Land Fund has done so many good things in terms of restoring land. AML funding is supposed to run out in 2021 and I want to make sure that you feel strongly enough about that so that you will support the continuation of AML funds,” Senator Manchin said.

Acting Secretary Bernhardt committed to working with Senator Manchin to extend AML funding.   

“Climate change is a priority for this committee. At your confirmation hearing two years ago you testified that you would take the science as we find it, whatever it is. But then you added that you should take the science and ‘put it in the paradigm of the Administration’s policy perspective.’ Is that still you view, that while you’re willing to look at the science, are you able to push back if the Administration is going against the science that’s been produced?” Senator Manchin asked.

“Here’s the one thing I can assure you: I’m not a wall-flower. If I’ve got a view, they’re going to hear it,” Acting Secretary Bernhardt said.“What our scientists say is we need to recognize that there is no one single model or one single scenario that’s right. It’s best to use these multiple models to think it through, look at the range of scenarios and then make your decision within that.” 

“Six percent of the outer continental shelf is currently available for leasing and the proposal you are recommending goes up to ninety percent under the direction of the Administration. The only thing I can assume is that they want to be able to export because our demand and our consumption does not pair up with this at all. As Senator King said, there is nobody on the Atlantic Coast that wants you to start drilling. Not one Governor, not one Congress person or Senator, Democrat or Republican. And we don’t have a need for it because of the growth we’ve had,” Senator Manchin said.

Acting Secretary Bernhardt committed to working with Atlantic Coast governors on this issue. 

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.