Haaland Commits To Working With Chairman Manchin On West Virginia Priorities

Haaland: Fossil Energy Does And Will Continue To Play A Major Role In America For Years To Come

February 23, 2021

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 held a hearing to consider the nomination of U.S. Representative Debra Haaland (D-NM) to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. During the hearing, Representative Haaland committed to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, that she will work with him to extend Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation (AML) fees– a key priority due to its 2021 expiration.

Chairman Manchin questioned Representative Haaland on the importance of maintaining our energy independence and reiterated his commitment to an all-of-the-above energy policy that focuses on innovation, rather than elimination.

“In your opening statement you noted that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. Do you believe that it is in our best interest to maintain our energy independence, and what role do you see fossil energy playing in that?” Chairman Manchin asked.

“Yes of course. We absolutely need energy independence and I believe President Biden agrees with that statement as well. I know that we want to move forward with clean energy, we want to get to net-zero. We want to move forward with innovation and all of this for our energy needs. That’s not going to happen overnight and, so, we will absolutely rely on the fossil energy that you and Ranking Member Barrasso spoke about in your opening statements. But at the same time, I think we can move forward with technology and innovation as well,” Representative Haaland said.

“I think you know my position on that. I’m totally committed to innovation, not elimination, because I believe we can do it in a practical, responsible way,” replied Chairman Manchin.

In his opening statement, Chairman Manchin stressed the importance of the Secretary’s role in overseeing the nation’s public lands and managing its natural resources.

“The Secretary is responsible for managing more than 480 million surface acres—nearly one-fifth of the land area of the United States, 700 million acres of subsurface minerals, and 2.5 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf. In addition, the lands managed by the Secretary produce nearly 20 percent of the nation’s energy that is critical for our energy independence, including 12 percent of our natural gas; 24 percent of our oil; 43 percent of our coal; half of our geothermal energy; and much of our wind, solar, and hydropower,” Chairman Manchin said. “It truly is an enormous and important job, and it is critical that the Secretary be ready to take on the management of the Department and have a deep understanding of the many issues under her purview.”

To read Representative Haaland’s testimony, please click here.  

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.  

The Committee will reconvene at 10am EST on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 to consider Representative Debra Haaland's nomination. For more information, please click here.