Manchin, Committee Consider Deputy Secretary Of The Interior Nominee

Manchin: Interior Must Do More To Reduce Methane Venting And Flaring

April 29, 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 Tommy P. Beaudreau to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, expressed his support for Mr. Beaudreau’s nomination.

Mr. Beaudreau committed to Chairman Manchin that he will work to ensure the timely distribution of funds to the United Mine Workers Combined Health and Benefits Fund. Chairman Manchin then highlighted the need to reduce damaging methane venting and flaring on federal lands.

“I believe more needs to be done to reduce methane venting and flaring from federal lands. We’ve been told that the venting of methane is eighty-four times more detrimental to our environment than just CO2, so we know it’s very lethal. We need to mitigate the environmental impact of this extremely potent greenhouse gas and to ensure the taxpayers receive a fair return for their resources. We already have technologies to reduce methane emissions and will continue that innovation, but one of the missing pieces seems to be gathering lines needed to get the methane from the wellhead to the main pipeline and ultimately to market, instead of venting or flaring it,” said Chairman Manchin. “What role does the Bureau of Land Management play in approving the construction of gathering lines?

“As President Biden and Secretary Halland have repeatedly said, there is no doubt that we absolutely need to address greenhouse gas emissions emanating from public lands, and that includes methane. It’s an important part of the challenge facing us with respect to climate and, as you pointed out, that resource belongs to the American people. To have methane vented, flared, or wasted is not only not in the American people’s interest but is contrary to law. If I return to the Interior Department, I will work across the board to develop solutions to prevent the waste of that resource, both for the benefit of taxpayers and for our fight against climate change,” said Mr. Beaudreau.

“There are steps that need to be taken to get methane to the market, and the gathering lines are what’s impeding it right now… It’s going to have to be all hands-on deck [to resolve the issue],” said Chairman Manchin.

Chairman Manchin also questioned Mr. Beaudreau on the need to increase development and deployment of renewable energy on federal lands and waters and on the importance of maintaining our nation’s energy independence.

“The United States became a net total energy exporter in 2019 for the first time in 67 years, in large part due to the surge in domestic oil and gas production. Do you believe that it is in our best interest to maintain our energy independence?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“Yes, I believe that it’s extremely important on the [international] stage that America maintain its energy security,” replied Mr. Beaudreau.

To read Mr. Beaudreau’s testimony, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.