Houston Chronicle

White House panders to climate activists

- By Joe Manchin Joe Manchin is the senior U.S. senator from West Virginia.

European conflict, global crises, persistent inflation, rising energy prices and the fear of a coming recession have placed America and the world at a critical crossroads, with much of these challenges centered on one defining issue: energy security. Now, as energy leaders from across the world are gathered in Houston for the annual CERAWeek conference, the issue of America’s energy security and the role of the Inflation Reduction Act to address this challenge will no doubt be top of mind.

The fact is that the IRA was and is shaped to achieve one goal — energy security — by utilizing all our nation’s abundant resources. While the Biden administra­tion has continued to play political games and incorrectl­y frame the IRA as a climate change legislatio­n, the truth is that the IRA is about securing America’s energy independen­ce for the coming century. If implemente­d as the law was written by those who have been entrusted to follow the law, the IRA will not just bolster the role of fossil fuels and renewables; it will help fuel a new century of progress for American manufactur­ing — and yes, emissions reductions.

Let me be even more direct, the IRA is critical to America’s energy security because it codifies an all-of-the-above energy policy that invests in energy innovation­s, rather than energy eliminatio­n. This critical legislatio­n is not a political weapon to be used by any party or politician to garner partisan votes or serve a narrow political agenda — it must be about ensuring and promoting America’s energy security.

As written, the IRA promotes the importance of using all fuel types in the cleanest way possible while also reducing emissions. It holds the administra­tion’s feet to the fire by ensuring that they, by law, cannot issue leases for renewable projects unless they’ve first held lease sales and issued leases for oil and gas projects. Over the longterm, this could help increase production of renewable and fossil fuel energy, reduce energy costs for hard-working Americans and provide the means for America to support our most energy-vulnerable allies.

Despite the promise and progress offered within the IRA, the Biden administra­tion continues to ignore congressio­nal intent on critical components of the IRA. Instead of following the legislatio­n designed to ensure America’s energy security, they have chosen to illogicall­y advance a partisan climate agenda and appease radical activists. In fact, over the last few months, both the Department of Treasury and Department of the Interior have explicitly and unabashedl­y violated the letter of the law, the intent of the law, or both, in an effort to elevate climate goals above the energy and national security of this nation. This is wrong and it must stop.

For example, the Department of Treasury has grossly mishandled the implementa­tion of the electric vehicle tax credits designed to curtail China’s dominance over this critical industry. Instead of abiding by the law, the department pandered to climate activists. With this in mind, I was unable to support Danny Werfel, the administra­tion’s nominee to serve as commission­er of the Internal Revenue Service.

The Biden administra­tion must begin to implement the IRA that was passed, not the law they wanted but did not get. Let me be clear: If they choose to continue down this path there will be consequenc­es now and in the future.

Today, I have also decided, as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, that I will not be moving forward the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis as assistant secretary of the Department of Interior. Daniel-Davis approved higher royalty rates for the Alaskan Cook Inlet sale, which were explicitly designed to decrease fossil energy production at the expense of our energy security. Even though I supported her in the past, I cannot, in good conscience, support her or anyone else who will play partisan politics and agree with this misguided and dangerous manipulati­on of the law.

Going forward, each and every proposed nominee I will review will be judged through one prism: Are they political partisans first or Americans first?

No matter what corner of America we live in, this is a defining moment for our nation. The IRA has positioned America to lead the way to ensuring a more energy secure future for our children and grandchild­ren.

However, if we continue to ignore the energy realities before us to achieve partisan goals, we risk becoming a prisoner to not only extreme domestic agendas, but to those adversarie­s and competitor­s around the world who wish to destroy or weaken us. This cannot happen.

The world needs America to reaffirm its status as not only a global military and economic superpower, but as the global energy superpower. This was the defining purpose of the IRA, because, make no mistake, energy security is national security. Ignoring this simple fact to win an election will carry the gravest of geopolitic­al and domestic consequenc­es for decades to come.

 ?? Leanora Benkato/Contributo­r ?? Environmen­tal protesters gather Wednesday for the “Climate Criminals” parade across the street from George R. Brown Convention Center, where the CERAWeek energy conference is taking place this week in Houston.
Leanora Benkato/Contributo­r Environmen­tal protesters gather Wednesday for the “Climate Criminals” parade across the street from George R. Brown Convention Center, where the CERAWeek energy conference is taking place this week in Houston.

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