Manchin Presses DOE Officials For Update On Appalachian Storage Hub

July 9, 2019

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to receive testimony on eleven bipartisan bills before the Committee. One piece of legislation before the subcommittee was Senator Manchin's Appalachian Energy for National Security Act (S. 1064), that would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a study and issue a report on the national security benefits of the proposed natural gas liquids storage hub in Appalachia. Secretary Perry has previously referred to an Appalachian storage hub as a “win-win for America.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, questioned Shawn Bennett, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Gas, Office of Fossil Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, about the President’s Executive Order directive to examine the Appalachian region as a candidate for economic development in our nation’s petrochemical sector. 

“I’ve talked with Secretary Perry and he’s seen the model of a class 5 hurricane coming up the Houston Channel and what it can do to cripple the energy of our country and the dependency we have. So we are looking for a backup. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio – with all of the energy we have stored there and the protection of the mountains among everything else – it’s a natural hub,” Ranking Member Manchin said. “Can you provide any kind of update regarding the President’s Executive Order directive to examine the Appalachian region as a candidate for economic development in our nation’s petrochemical sector?”

“Secretary Perry has been very fond of talking about creating a petrochemical complex storage hub in the region because he recognizes the importance from an economic security standpoint. He has said many times, that one of the things that kept him awake at night was a hurricane coming up the Houston ship channel. And with that you need to have a diversity of your petrochemical manufacturing. So we are definitely looking at that,” said Mr. Bennett. “Through that came the President’s Executive Order and Section 9 of that – we are hard at work in supplying that executive order and it is due in August with the report complete. In that report we do recognize the importance of Appalachia and the diversity of their economic security for petrochemical manufacturing.”

Senator Manchin also stressed West Virginia’s significant energy and manufacturing contributions throughout American history.

“In 1920, in the Kanawha Valley in West Virginia we built one of the first petrochemical crackers …” Ranking Member Manchin said. “Nylon was invented in Charleston, West Virginia. All the things that our little state did for the war was done because of the energy we’ve been blessed with. Now people want to curse us a little bit but we’re doing it better and we want to continue to improve on an all-in policy.”  

The hearing also included five bills to advance energy storage research, development, and adoption, indicating strong, bipartisan member support for storage technologies. Below is the full list of bills discussed during today’s subcommittee hearing.   

  • S. 1602, (Collins) the Better Energy Storage Technology Act;
  • S. 1593, (Smith) the Promoting Grid Storage Act of 2019;
  • S. 1183, (Klobuchar) the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019;
  • S. 1741, (Wyden) the Reducing the Cost of Energy Storage Act of 2019;
  • S. 2048, (King) the Joint Long-Term Storage Act of 2019;
  • S. 1685, (Cornyn) Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas Act of 2019;
  • S. 143, (Ernst) Department of Energy Veterans’ Health Initiative Act;
  • S. 983, (Coons) Weatherization Enhancement and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act of 2019;
  • S. 1857, (Murkowski) Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act of 2019;
  • S. 1064, (Manchin) Appalachian Energy for National Security Act; and
  • H.R. 1138, (Reed) to reauthorize the West Valley demonstration project, and for other purposes.

To watch the hearing in full click here.