Manchin, Committee Consider BLM and Energy Dept. Nominees

Manchin highlights importance of ensuring effective administration of America’s energy policies and programs, not leaving communities behind

June 8, 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 nominations of Ms. Tracy Stone-Manning to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, Ms. Shalanda Baker to be the Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact at the Department of Energy, Mr. Samuel Walsh to be the General Counsel of the Department of Energy, and Dr. Alexander Light to be the Assistant Secretary of Energy for International Affairs. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, stressed the importance of each nominee’s role in ensuring effective administration of the nation’s energy policies and programs and providing responsible management of its natural resources.

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin questioned Ms. Baker on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and its role in ensuring that communities are not left behind in the transition to a cleaner energy future.

“The President has set a goal of directing 40 percent of the benefits of federal investments in clean energy, training and workforce development, environmental cleanup, and clean water infrastructure project to ‘disadvantaged communities.’ What is your understanding of the meaning of the term ‘disadvantaged community’ as used in the Justice40 Initiative? Does it extend to coal mining communities in my state, which bore the brunt of building and powering this nation, and now risk being left behind,” Chairman Manchin asked.

“The Justice40 Initiative is absolutely at the cornerstone of this administration’s climate transition policy. As you mentioned, the President has made this commitment to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain investments go to disadvantaged communities. In the same executive order announcing the Justice40 Initiative, the President made a deep commitment to energy communities, which are experiencing the transition away from fossil fuels. In fact, he has said that both energy communities and disadvantaged communities will be at the front of his economic policy with respect to climate. And, if confirmed, I would be delighted to work both with energy communities as well as disadvantaged communities to ensure that we have clean energy solutions in those communities and that we bring economic development and opportunities for wealth creation in those communities. And the President has made it clear that he is committed to both energy communities and disadvantaged communities,” said Ms. Baker.

In stressing the importance of the Bureau of Land Management, Chairman Manchin asked Ms. Stone-Manning if she believes that: America should be energy independent; fossil fuels must continue to play a major role in America for years to come; and we can strike the right balance between environmental protection and responsible energy development so that we can maintain our energy advantage. For each question, Ms. Stone-Manning responded, “Yes.”

To read the nominees’ testimony, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.