Manchin Raises Concerns About U.S. Energy Independence And National Security

July 12, 2019

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

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

Washington, DC – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to discuss U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and its role in the global marketplace. During the hearing, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, stressed the need for expansion of natural gas production within the United States and the threat of for China and Russia’s use of LNG resources as a geopolitical weapon. 

“Energy can be a tool for democracy, but it can also be a weapon. Russia has for years relied on their energy resources to exert influence and exact concessions. This is because Central and Eastern Europe are reliant on Russia for approximately 75% of their gas import needs. Russia then uses this reliance for political coercion and influence,” Senator Manchin said.  

Senator Manchin also questioned Dr. Melanie Hart, Senior Fellow and Director of the China Program at Center for American Progress, about the discrepancy between access given to American natural gas development in China and China’s natural gas development in the United States. 

“Are we as Americans allowed to go into China and buy their resources, develop their resources and control the flow of their resources back to the U.S.?” Senator Manchin asked.

“We are certainly not allowed to do so in China. In fact, China’s information about their shale gas resources is classified. So our companies are also not even allowed to fully assess what they have in the ground to understand how they might weigh in as a potential exporter over time,” said Dr. Hart. 

Finally, Senator Manchin again raised concerns over the proposed $83 billion Chinese investment in West Virginia. 

“Do you all know about this deal they want to make with West Virginia, my state? They’ve said they’re going to invest $83 billion over 20 years. You can imagine that kind of carrot being swung out there, it’s tremendous for a small state. Our budget is only $4 billion a year and they’re going to invest $83 billion. What would be their interest? We cannot find out one iota of what the MoU is. I have asked them directly and cannot get a direct answer about their investments,” Senator Manchin said. “My gut tells me they want the LNG, they want the propane, ethane and butane which we do not have CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) review on. It could take away our feed stock for manufacturing. And I can’t believe that this administration would allow in any way, shape or form, for this project to go on. There’s another type of problem with American Ethane. American Ethane is run by a Russian oligarch. What they’re doing here in America to take out our building stock… I don’t know why we haven’t stepped up and slapped a stop and desist order on this.” 

The hearing also featured testimony from representatives from the Department of Energy, Center for LNG, Sempra Energy and Center for Strategic & International Studies. To read their testimonies click here.

To watch the hearing in full click here.