Manchin, Energy Committee Consider Interior, ACHP Nominees

September 21, 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. Laura Daniel-Davis to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management, Ms. Camille C. Touton to be Commissioner of Reclamation, and Ms. Sara C. Bronin to be Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). During the hearing, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, questioned Ms. Daniel-Davis on the status and impact of the Administration’s pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

“Within a week of taking office, President Biden issued an executive order that directed the Secretary of the Interior to pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and in offshore waters pending a comprehensive review of the Secretary’s stewardship responsibilities… Are we producing as much oil and gas as we were before the pause?” Chairman Manchin asked.

“We are. The production has stayed at levels consistent with past administrations. The pause did not impact ongoing permitting on legally held leases, so that has continued and the jobs associated with that have continued. We’ve got about 9,000-plus permits available for use as well,” said Ms. Daniel-Davis.

Chairman Manchin also questioned Ms. Daniel-Davis on the status of the Administration’s report of its review of the federal oil and gas leasing programs. In response, Ms. Daniel-Davis stated that the Interior Department expects its release “very soon."

Chairman Manchin also highlighted the Bureau of Reclamation’s critical role in ensuring Americans have access to their water supplies.

“I spoke in my opening remarks about the number of dams and reservoirs the Bureau of Reclamation manages. But do you agree that the job of the Commissioner of Reclamation is not so much about managing dams and reservoirs as protecting the water supplies upon which millions of Americans rely?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“I agree. As a Westerner and as a Nevadan, there’s nothing more important than your water and the management of your water supplies. The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest deliverer of water in the nation. Part of that is being able to utilize our significant infrastructure but the most important part of managing water supplies is working with your partners, the states, the tribes, and all the communities,” said Ms. Camille Touton.

Finally, Ms. Sara C. Bronin stated that, if confirmed, she would work with Congress and other stakeholders “to ensure the ACHP continues to take a leadership role in advancing and modernizing preservation practice nationally.”

To read the nominees’ testimony, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.