Manchin, Energy Committee Consider FERC, DOE, NPS Nominees

Manchin ‘very confident’ all three nominees will be confirmed

October 19, 2021

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

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to consider the nominations of Mr. Willie L. Phillips, Jr. to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Mr. Brad J. Crabtree to be the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, and Mr. Charles F. Sams III to be Director of the National Park Service (NPS). Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, questioned both Mr. Phillips and Mr. Crabtree on what needs to be done to ensure our nation’s continued energy independence.

“Do you believe it’s in our best interest to maintain energy independence in the United States? How do we maintain that?” Chairman Manchin asked.

“I believe in an all-of-the-above strategy with regard to the work of the Commission. I know that FERC is an economic regulator, they do not pick winners and losers. At the same time, I’m very aware that we are in the middle of an energy transition. We used to say that the energy transition is coming, but I think that it is here today and I want to do everything I can, if I’m honored to be confirmed, to push forward innovation to achieve our goals,” said Mr. Phillips.

“The United States became a net energy exporter in 2019 for the first time in 67 years, in large part because of a domestic surge in oil and gas production… What are your thoughts on the mix it would take for us to continue to be energy independent?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“Obviously, our first and foremost obligation is to ensure energy availability, affordability, and reliability. The area of responsibility is the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management – they have a big role to play in that regard. You noted that there are a number of sources of dispatchable 24/7 power for example. If we’re to achieve net zero emissions, a goal of the Administration which I support, then we need to be deploying technology that allows those dispatchable sources of generation to continue to provide that reliable baseload support for the new low- and zero-forms of generation that are coming online,” said Mr. Crabtree.

Finally, Chairman Manchin questioned Mr. Sams on what his top priorities would be as Director of the National Park Service, given the agency’s role as a steward and guardian of the nation’s most iconic landscapes and broad authority over dozens of different offices, bureaus, and services. In response, Ms. Sams said that his priorities would include improving morale among the National Park Service’s workforce and ensuring it is well-supported. Mr. Sams also praised Chairman Manchin’s Great American Outdoors Act and committed to implementing the bill in a responsible and open manner.

To read the nominees’ testimony, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.