Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) confronted Interior Secretary Deb Haaland during a Senate Energy Committee hearing on Thursday; Manchin presented Haaland with a statement from her own department and it left her shook.
“During testimony before the U.S Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland confirmed that, despite delays in implementation from the previous Administration, the Interior Department will release the Proposed Program – the next step in the five-year offshore energy planning process – by June 30, 2022, which is the expiration of the current program. A Proposed Program is not a decision to issue specific leases or to authorize any drilling or development,” the statement reads.
“The previous Administration stopped work on the new five-year plan in 2018, so there has been a lot to do to catch up. Varying, conflicting litigation has also been a factor. As we take this next step, we will follow the science and the law, as we always do. This requires a robust and transparent review process that includes input from states, the public and Tribes to inform our decision-making. We take this responsibility seriously without any pre-judgment of the outcome,” said Secretary Haaland in the statement.
“Secretary Haaland, you all just put out a statement, the U.S. Department of Interior just put out a statement, and the statement basically says, ‘A proposed program is not a decision to issue specific leases or to authorize any drilling or development,'” Manchin said.
“This is from y’all’s office,” Manchin said. “So it looks like you are gonna shut everything down. Did you know y’all put this out?”
“I, I, I, I — I’m sorry, I’m sitting in this hearing, and not —” Haaland replied.
“My God — this shuts it down,” Manchin shot back. “It shows what your intent is.”
“We’re getting this at the last possible day, the last possible minute, knowing that there’s other steps to go through,” Manchin said. ‘The timing is not right that you’ve taken as long as you possibly could.”