Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee 2023 Year-in-Review

January 12, 2024

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, released the Committee’s 2023 year-in-review. 

Under Senator Manchin’s leadership, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported or ordered reported 59 bills in 2023, including Chairman Manchin’s Nuclear Fuel Security Act and America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2023. The Committee held 21 hearings and 3 business meetings on a variety of topics covering the Committee’s jurisdiction including national energy policy, the Compacts of Free Association with Pacific nations, mining and minerals policy, stewarding our public lands and national parks and more. The Subcommittees held 7 hearings.

“The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has a long history of bipartisan cooperation and I am proud that we continued that tradition in 2023. As Chairman, I was honored to lead a number of initiatives that will have a direct impact on the lives of West Virginians and Americans nationwide, including securing the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, bringing a $900 million Hydrogen Hub to Appalachia and reducing our reliance on foreign supply chains by ensuring the Inflation Reduction Act is implemented as written,” said Chairman Manchin. “This Committee also oversaw a record-breaking year for domestic energy production. U.S. natural gas production was expected to exceed 37 trillion cubic feet in 2023, while U.S. crude oil production was projected to hit 4.7 billion barrels last year. At the same time, we installed record amounts of solar power and battery storage in 2023, proving that innovation, not elimination, is the best way we can ensure our energy security while protecting the environment we all love.”

“I am so proud of the accomplishments that members of this Committee and their staffs helped advance across the finish line in 2023. As I enter my last year as Chairman of this Committee, I look forward to building on these accomplishments as we work to reform our nation’s broken energy and infrastructure permitting processes, continue to monitor implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and ensure that our nation is energy secure and independent.”

Advancing Energy Security Through Record Energy Production

Senator Manchin’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provided certainty that robust domestic energy production of all types, including oil, gas, and coal, will be needed and supported by the federal government for at least the next decade. The IRA created new demand for energy by boosting investment in advanced energy and manufacturing projects that use energy, reinstated the fall 2020 offshore oil and gas leases and required the Administration to conduct three more offshore lease sales by the end of 2023, and ensured the Administration is incentivized to hold frequent and substantial oil and gas lease sales both onshore and offshore – or else they cannot proceed with awarding renewable energy leases. Subsequent to the passage of the IRA, U.S. natural gas production hit a record of 36 trillion cubic feet in 2022 and is expected to exceed 37 trillion in 2023. Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil production is projected to hit 4.7 billion barrels in 2023, which would be the highest annual production ever. The U.S. is also installing record amounts of solar power and battery storage. Further energy production growth is expected in 2024 as IRA implementation continues.

Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub: A $900M+ Investment in Appalachia

In October, Senator Manchin announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) for up to $925 million in federal support under Senator Manchin’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Hub is projected to create over 20,000 jobs, with the majority of those in West Virginia. The $925 million in federal funding is expected to unlock up to $6 billion in additional private sector matching funding.

To celebrate the announcement, Senator Manchin hosted U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in West Virginia. Senator Manchin’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included $9.5 billion for hydrogen. In addition to the $8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs that will jumpstart the production, transport, and use of clean hydrogen across the U.S. economy, it also included $1 billion for a Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program to reduce costs of hydrogen produced from electricity, and $500 million for Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling initiatives to support equipment manufacturing and strong domestic supply chains. The legislation also ensured at least one hub would be located in Appalachia as the largest natural gas producing region.  

Streamlining Federal Permitting

Senator Manchin codified several of the common sense National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reforms proposed in his permitting reform bill (the Building American Energy Security Act) through the enacted Fiscal Responsibility Act. These included requiring all federal agencies to coordinate on a single environmental review and setting court-enforced deadlines on the NEPA process that will reduce timelines to less than half of what they are today. He continues to hold hearings and convene conversations with the goal of advancing additional, essential reforms to the federal permitting process.

Secured Completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia

Senator Manchin authored and led the inclusion of language in the Fiscal Responsibility Act to ratify MVP’s construction permits to prevent further agency or court delays and move jurisdiction away from the biased Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  He also defended the constitutionality of the law when it was challenged by filing an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Court ruled in MVP’s favor.  These actions ensured the completion of this transformational project that will unlock West Virginian energy resources to improve America’s energy security, create 4,500 construction jobs, and bring $100s of millions in annual tax and royalty revenue to West Virginia.

Bringing Jobs and Investment to West Virginia

Competitive Power Ventures selected Doddridge County for the location of its 1,800 MW combined-cycle natural gas power plant using carbon capture technology as a result of the carbon capture incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. This is a $3 billion investment that will create 2,000 jobs during peak construction. 

Form Energy broke ground on their first iron-air battery manufacturing plant in Weirton, West Virginia as a result of the energy incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. This plant will support 750 full time jobs and bring a total direct investment of up to $760 million to the community.   

BHE Renewables and Our Next Energy broke ground on manufacturing sites in Jackson County, West Virginia with a total investment of over $522 million. Made possible by the programs in the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these manufacturing sites will produce titanium products and utility-scale battery storage systems while supporting hundreds of jobs. 

Adams Fork announced a clean ammonia project on a reclaimed coal mine in Mingo County which was made possible by the programs spearheaded by Senator Manchin in the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This project is expected to support 2,000 construction jobs and serves as an important project for the proposed Appalachian Regional Hydrogen Hub that Senator Manchin is advocating for in the state.

Tokamak Energy in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, was chosen by the Department of Energy as one of just eight companies nationwide to receive federal funding to advance the development of fusion energy. Provisions in the Energy Act of 2020 and the CHIPS and Science Act supported pilot-scale demonstrations of fusion energy with the goal of solidifying U.S. leadership in fusion commercialization.

Rare Earths and Critical Minerals from Coal  Last Congress, Senator Manchin created an innovative research program at the Department of Energy for the development of technology to extract Rare Earth Elements and other critical minerals from coal and coal waste, as well as directing the Department of Defense to accelerate efforts to scale up rare earth production. This year, West Virginia University and partners around the state won multiple competitive awards through these programs, moving towards the creation of a new facility that will demonstrate the commercial-scale feasibility of rare earth elements refining and processing from waste material, like acid mine drainage. This work will ensure that we can clean our streams and rivers, create jobs, and address our national security challenges through innovative new uses for coal in West Virginia. WVU and the West Virginia DEP now have a successful pilot facility in operation at Mount Storm, made possible through these programs, and are moving towards scaling these processes across the state and our nation.  

Bringing Innovative Investments to Coal Communities and Expanding Advanced Manufacturing – Senator Manchin authored and led the inclusion of “energy communities” incentives for the tax credits within the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides added incentives for new energy and manufacturing investments in coal communities and other places affected by the energy transition. These incentives are working. We have seen double the rate of clean energy investments in energy communities relative to other locations. The Inflation Reduction Act is also catalyzing incredible investment in clean energy manufacturing in the U.S., which is nearly twenty times higher than it was just 4-5 years ago.

The Tri-State Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Hub was awarded over $55 million from the Department of Energy through Senator Manchin’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to spur the development of CCS in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Currently, the region has no viable CO2 storage solutions, so this project will provide a path forward in reducing CO2 emissions from businesses in the region and help attract new industry to West Virginia communities.

Boston Metal Advanced Manufacturing was awarded a $50 million grant through the Department of Energy for a manufacturing plant that will create around 200 new manufacturing jobs in Weirton, West Virginia. The facility will produce ultrapure chromium metal and high temperature alloys that are critical materials needed for advanced energy technologies. The funding was made possible by Senator Manchin who authored the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Program, which specifically made available $750 million to assist advanced energy manufacturing in coal communities.

Expanding Hydropower Development in West Virginia – Senator Manchin secured feasibility studies in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 to assess the potential of hydropower on many Army Corps Dams throughout West Virginia. As a result of the studies, Rye Development applied and subsequently obtained preliminary permits from FERC to retrofit the existing nonpowered dams at R.D. Bailey Dam, Sutton Dam, and Hildebrand Dam for future hydropower generation. Each of these projects will create 150 to 200 jobs during the 2-to-3-year construction period and 50+ years of family-wage, permanent jobs during the lifespan of the plants. Representing more than $400 million of investment, the projects will inject hundreds of millions of dollars into West Virginia communities in the form of wages, material and supply contracts, and contractor work for local small businesses. The projects will be made possible by tax incentives created by the Inflation Reduction Act. Separately, Senator Manchin sent a letter to FERC in support of a hydropower development license at the Jennings Randolph Lake dam in Mineral County, West Virginia that was set to expire soon. Following Senator Manchin’s engagement, FERC granted the license extension which will lead to 14 MW of clean and dispatchable power coming online for over 6,000 homes while creating new employment opportunities in the community.

Bringing Bill Gates to West Virginia  Senator Manchin welcomed philanthropist and investor Bill Gates to Kanawha County, West Virginia to tour the site of a now closed coal-fired power plant, highlighting the opportunity of retrofitting old coal plants into nuclear plants or other types of energy facilities. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and Breakthrough Energy, also joined a roundtable discussion with Senator Manchin and business leaders in the state to discuss the prolific energy development possibilities in West Virginia following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Nucor Steel broke ground on a $3 billion site in Apple Grove, West Virginia in October. Recent enacted federal legislation that Senator Manchin has championed, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, has greatly grown the demand for manufacturing projects on American soil. This new mill will create as many as 2,000 construction jobs and approximately 800 full-time positions when fully operational.

Holding the Administration’s Feet to the Fire and Reining in their Radical Climate Agenda

Methane Fee Oversight – Senator Manchin sent a public letter to EPA Administrator Regan and made several calls about the unacceptable delays in awarding $1.55 billion in IRA methane grant funding and issuing implementation guidance for the Methane Emissions Reduction Program. He also added language to the Senate Interior, Environment and related agencies funding bill report urging EPA to accelerate the methane fee funding and guidance process.  

Vehicle Supply Chains  On numerous occasions, Senator Manchin has put the Administration on notice for trying to stretch and liberalize the electric vehicle related provisions of the IRA in such a way that would continue to leave us beholden to China.  Most notably, Senator Manchin submitted formal comments to the Department of Treasury on their implementation of the 30D Clean Vehicle Credit which detailed these concerns and requested a legal opinion from the U.S. Government Accountability Office on whether Treasury’s proposed rules for these credits could be overturned using the Congressional Review Act.  

Ensuring timely processing of Class VI Well Applications for Carbon Sequestration Wells – Senator Manchin secured language in the FY24 Senate Interior, Environment and related agencies funding bill report that would expedite and provide more transparency on the Class VI permit application process. He has also raised the insufficient action on Class VI permits with Administration officials in hearings and meetings. 

Protecting the Hydrogen Production Tax Credit – Senator Manchin secured language in the FY24 Senate Energy & Water funding bill report that expresses concern that the Administration is moving forward with additional requirements and restrictions to the hydrogen production tax credit that were not included in, nor contemplated, by theInflation Reduction Act and could limit hydrogen investments in West Virginia. He also secured language that would ensure that the Department of Energy includes innovative hydrogen pathways, such as coal mine/bed methane and geologic hydrogen, in their emissions modeling software that would support hydrogen projects in West Virginia benefiting from the hydrogen production tax credit.

Ensuring the Loan Programs Office at DOE Gives Fair Consideration to Fossil Energy Projects  Senator Manchin secured report language in the FY24 Senate Energy & Water funding bill that directs the Department of Energy to give full and fair consideration and support to projects in a fuel- and technology-neutral manner, including proposals to add emissions controls to operating coal and natural gas power plants. 

Guaranteeing the Continuation of Federal Oil and Gas Leasing – As a result of Senator Manchin’s work in crafting the energy security provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Department of the Interior has been forced to continue oil and gas leasing on our federal lands and waters. Onshore, since the passage of the IRA, the Bureau of Land Management has held 13 lease sales, generating over $157 million in receipts, while the four offshore lease sales mandated or reinstated through the IRA have brought in over $822 million in high bids to help reduce our debt. Going forward, due to the IRA, the administration was forced to include three offshore oil and gas lease sales in their Five-Year Leasing Program for 2024–2029. Without the IRA, it is clear that the administration would have planned to hold zero offshore lease sales.

Subpart W Revisions Oversight – Senator Manchin sent a public letter to EPA Administrator Regan about EPA’s inability to reconcile the changes proposed to Subpart W of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) with IRA requirements. While the IRA provides clear directives to enhance accurate emissions assessment for the Methane Waste Emissions Charge (Methane Fee) and offers facility owners the choice of submitting firsthand, observed emissions data, EPA’s proposed revisions impose notable constraints on the utilization of advanced emissions measurement methods by facility owners. 

Supporting the Onshoring of Energy and Advanced Technologies Supply Chains and Reducing our Reliance on Foreign Nations

Blocking Strategic Petroleum Reserve Sales to China – Senator Manchin introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit sales and exports of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China, and he successfully amended the Senate’s FY24 NDAA package on the floor to include an updated version of the bill.

Ending our Reliance on Russia and Supporting an American Uranium Supply Chain – Senator Manchin led the bipartisan Nuclear Fuel Security Act of 2023 which became law as part of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  This measure directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a nuclear fuel program with the purpose of onshoring uranium conversion and enrichment capacity, and ensures a disruption in Russian supply would not impact the development of advanced reactors or our current reactor fleet.

Leading the Charge Against Chinese Solar Dominance – Senator Manchin was the only Democrat to cosponsor the legislation to overturn the Administration’s pause on anti-dumping and counter-veiling duties against Southeast Asian solar panels and the first to publicly say he would support the measure on the floor. 

Stewarding our Public Lands, Forests and National Parks

In December, Senator Manchin announced that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will receive $37,791,464 in grant funding through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Methane Emissions Reduction Program to reduce methane emissions from low-producing oil and gas wells. This funding is made possible by Senator Manchin’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

In December, Senator Manchin announced that West Virginia’s Jefferson County Courthouse has been designated as a new National Historic Landmark (NHL). 

In November, Senator Manchin held a hearing to discuss the $11.3 billion included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up Abandoned Mine Lands (AML), the unnecessarily long vetting process for Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program (AMLER) projects, and difficulties that states have in the application process to receive AML funding.

In September, Senator Manchin introduced S.2991, America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration (ARCs) Act of 2023, a bipartisan piece of legislation that aims to restore ecosystems and boost carbon storage and sequestration through tree planting, fire risk reduction projects, and expanded use of forest products and new wood technologies.

In September, Senator Manchin introduced the Promoting Effective Forest Management Act of 2023. This bipartisan legislation would reduce catastrophic wildfire risk and improve forest health.

In August, Senator Manchin announced that the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act has brought $23.5 million to support and expand the outdoor recreation economy in West Virginia and address deferred maintenance projects in National Parks, Forests, and on Public Lands.  

In July, Senator Manchin announced $2,850,529 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through the U.S. Department of the Interior to support and expand local outdoor recreation across West Virginia.

In July, Senator Manchin introduced S. 2272, the Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act, legislation that would maintain firefighter pay levels achieved by Senator Manchin’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

In June, Senator Manchin held a hearing to discuss the increased damage and risks posed by wildfires, the waning recruitment of wildland firefighters, the health risks associated with firefighting activities and how funds provided to Federal agencies to improve conditions for Federal firefighters and increase employment are being used. 

In June, Senator Manchin announced the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service is investing $1,092,000 from the National Parks and Public Legacy Restoration Fund (NPPLRF) to address three deferred maintenance projects in West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest. This funding was made possible by Senator Manchin’s Great American Outdoors Act which established the NPPLRF.

In June, Senator Manchin announced the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) has awarded the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board $429,097 to preserve 149.6 acres at Shepherdstown Battlefield in Jefferson County, West Virginia, through the Battlefield Land Acquisition Grants program.

In June, Senator Manchin announced that West Virginia will receive $140,684,000 in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) to reclaim abandoned mine lands (AML).

In May, Senator Manchin’s America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2023 was reported of Committee by a voice vote.  

In April, Senator Manchin announced that 14 West Virginia counties will receive a combined $1,391,968 through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service from the Secure Rural Schools program to support public schools, roads and to reimburse counties for providing emergency services on national forest and grasslands.

In March, Senator Manchin joined a group of regional lawmakers to introduce legislation that ensures the continued involvement of the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park Federal Advisory Commission in decisions that affect the administration and development of the park.

In March, Senator Manchin introduced America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2023. Originally introduced in the 117th Congress as the Outdoor Recreation Act, the bipartisan legislation would increase and improve outdoor recreation opportunities across the nation while improving infrastructure and driving economic growth in rural communities. 

In March, Senator Manchin announced that a $1,272,112 million contract has been awarded to a Morgantown, West Virginia-based contractor to plug one abandoned gas well at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve—America’s newest national park—and two abandoned oil and gas wells at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula, Ohio.

In March, Senator Manchin sent a letter to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin, seeking answers regarding the hundreds of inaccuracies on the Korean War Memorial's recently-unveiled Wall of Remembrance.

In March, Senator Manchin reintroduced the Biking On Long-Distance Trails (BOLT) Actto bolster outdoor recreation and biking on federal lands across the country. 

In January, Senator Manchin applauded the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve’s announcement that 45 acres of preserve land has been added to America’s newest National Park.

Renewing the Compacts of Free Association (COFA)

As Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Manchin plays a leading role in the renewal of the Compacts of Free Association with the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Micronesia. The Compacts are vital to our national security interests in the Indo-Pacific region and play a pivotal role in countering China’s malign actions in the region.  Senator Manchin introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to renew the compacts and successfully included an amendment in the Senate’s FY24 NDAA that there is Congressional support and recognition of the necessity of approving the amended Compacts.