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Senator Manchin Threatens To Block Biden Nominees Over IRA Energy Provisions

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin on Friday threatened to hold up more of President Joe Biden’s nominees if the Administration doesn’t stick to the energy lane carved forward by the Inflation reduction act.

In a Houston Chronicle opinion piece on Friday, Senator Manchin said that the Administration should stick with implementing the IRA that was passed, “not the law they wanted but did not get.” Machin added that “if they choose to continue down this path there will be consequences now and in the future.”

Manchin said he would no longer support the Biden nominee for assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals management. Laura Daniel-Davis has been waiting to be confirmed since mid-2021. Republicans view Daniel-Davis as decidedly anti-fossil fuels. Her chances of being confirmed now, without Manchin’s support, have been labeled by some as less than zero.

Manchin had previously referred to Daniel-Davis as “incredibly well-qualified,” voting for her in his role as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Daniel-Davis currently serves as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary-Land and Minerals Management.

But Machin became disgruntled with the Biden Administration’s handling of Alaskan energy affairs, after last Friday, an internal memo was accidentally posted on the BOEM website that rejected cutting royalty rates for oil and gas development in Alaska by the minimum amount established by the Inflation Reduction Act, even though the BOEM’s own research discovered that a discount could spark more drilling, increasing Alaska’s revenues and quenching a fuel shortage in Anchorage.

The memo shows Daniel-Davis signing off in November on the recommendation for higher royalty rates, just one month before the federal oil and gas lease sale for Alaska’s Cook Inlet. That lease sale drew just one bid for a single lease. 

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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