Manchin Welcomes Canadian Leaders To Committee, Leads Robust Discussion On A North American Energy Alliance

May 17, 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 examine opportunities to strengthen the energy and mineral partnership between the U.S. and Canada to address energy security and climate objectives. Throughout the hearing, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, stressed the importance of collaborating with Canada to create a powerful North American Energy Alliance that can strengthen our collective energy security while combatting climate change and promoting global peace and stability.

Chairman Manchin questioned the witnesses about coordination efforts between the U.S. and Canada to help our European allies reduce their reliance on Russian oil and gas.

“Premier Kenney, have you been in contact with the Administration or your counterpart [regarding] increasing oil and natural gas [exports]?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“Yesterday I did have meetings with officials at the U.S. State Department that we initiated. I will say, we found it [strange] that following the invasion of Ukraine, there were clear efforts by the Administration to reach out to OPEC, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran, but we have no record of any effort by the Administration to reach out to Alberta which, as I’ve said, provides 62% of U.S. oil imports,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Chairman Manchin also questioned the witnesses about what they believed are the greatest impediments to a strong energy and minerals collaboration between the U.S. and Canada.

“If you all could give the greatest obstacle or critical factor that you want the United States to give attention to that would be helpful for this relationship to continue to flourish?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“We need a message from the Administration about regulatory certainty,” said Premier Kenney.

“For the mining sector, we are already having discussions with people from the Administration… And we’re looking at ways of having greater collaboration and it could be co-investing or offtake agreements, but we need to have a transparent dialogue with all the stakeholders,” said Nathalie Camden, Associate Deputy Minister of Mines, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Québec, Canada.

“From an electricity perspective, I think the greatest challenge that we face both in Canada and the United States is our government and your Administration both committed to a net zero electricity grid by 2035. To be able to achieve that is going to take a significant effort, certainly in Canada. We are now getting a better sense of what the government’s vision is for the pathway to 2035 but it needs to be done in a manner that is coordinated between Canada and the United States,” said Mr. Francis Bradley, President and CEO, Electricity Canada.

“I completely agree that there needs to be a much more strategic approach to North American energy and that certainly very much includes the energy sources and the associated materials that are going to be really required in the future,” said Minister Wilkinson. “We need to actually be strategic and thoughtful about how we partner in a way that’s going to be good for both countries and allow us to address climate change and energy security concurrently.”

During the hearing, both Chairman Manchin and Minister Wilkinson highlighted the role clean hydrogen can play in reducing emissions and providing carbon-free power. Minister Wilkinson then commented on efforts the Canadian federal government has undertaken to advance this resource and the infrastructure needed to transport it.

“Both Canada and the United States are well placed to actually be producers of large quantities of hydrogen… We see working with the United States on ensuring that we’re building up transportation corridors and linking up hydrogen hubs that we’re both developing as a way for us to accelerate progress on this. And I totally agree with you that any infrastructure that we are thinking about putting into place going forward needs to be hydrogen capable. [Hydrogen capability] is an enormous opportunity for North America and it is something that we need to work on together,” said Minister Wilkinson.

Finally, Chairman Manchin underscored the importance of the long-standing cross-border pipeline infrastructure and reliable electric transmission between the U.S. and Canada.

To read the witnesses’ written testimony, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.