Manchin, Committee Consider Energy And Interior Nominees

Manchin: Administration nominated three ‘well qualified and top quality’ individuals

April 28, 2022

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 Dr. David Applegate to be Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Ambassador Carmen G. Cantor to be an Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs at the Department of the Interior and Dr. Evelyn Wang to be Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy at the Department of Energy. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, praised all three nominees as highly qualified for the offices to which they were nominated to serve.

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin questioned Dr. Wang on the importance of developing effective carbon utilization technologies.

“We’ve expanded our thinking to include carbon capture, utilization and sequestration. We have to come to see if we’re going to be able to succeed in decarbonizing our economy, [we must not only] remove carbon from the smokestack but put it to use. Do you see movement in that direction and will you commit to furthering research?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“As we think about the future – in terms of net-zero emissions – carbon capture, utilization and storage is going to be very critical. In fact, ARPA-E has devoted some research in this area. In particular, [we’re] trying to make this process more cost effective and less energy intensive… If confirmed, I certainly would love to work with you and the members of this committee to look at these possibilities and really innovate these technologies moving forward so that they can be integrated to achieve net zero emissions,” said Dr. Wang.

Chairman Manchin also questioned Dr. Applegate on the steps the USGS is taking to address America’s reliance on adversarial nations like China for our critical minerals supply chain.

“Putin has weaponized energy and I’m concerned that Xi Jinping, the leader of the People’s Republic of China, will do the same with critical minerals. Are you looking at what we can do in America or in the North American continent with Canada and Mexico? And what do you think the path is to make us totally independent not just in energy, but in critical minerals that we need for the new technology that we depend on?” Chairman Manchin asked.

“We have received an incredible shot in the arm with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is enabling us to invest heavily in what we call the Earth Mapping Resources Initiative. This is collecting foundational data in areas that are prospective for a wide range of essential minerals… We are investing in this foundational data that’s going to enable us to better understand our resources here in the U.S., including the resources that are available from secondary recovery and mine waste. It remains an important issue and one in which we have a lot of strong collaborations, particularly with Canada,” said Dr. Applegate.

Finally, Chairman Manchin questioned Ambassador Cantor on the strategic importance of America’s continued relationships with the Freely Associated States and presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Ambassador Cantor, with the vantage point you’ve had, what strategic relationship do you see we need [in the Indo-Pacific region] and what do we need to do to [address] aggression from China?” Chairman Manchin asked.

“Since China is seeking to expand its influence in the region, this is a very important relationship that we need to continue to have… I think that one of the ways we can do this is by expediting the negotiations on the Compacts of Free Associations. If I’m confirmed, I commit to doing that and to doing the most that I can do to make sure that these Compact negotiations are completed in a timely way,” Ambassador Cantor said.

To read the nominees’ testimony, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.