Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) tripped up Home Secretary Deb Haaland on Thursday after confronting her with a statement released by the Home Office.
What is the background?
Haaland testified before the Senate Energy Committee to deal with the agency’s proposed budget. However, with the energy crisis and record-high gas prices, oil and gas were the hot topics at the hearing, especially given the Biden administration’s hostility to fossil fuels.
The bone of contention was the fact that the Home Office has delayed the release of a new five-year program for offshore oil and gas auctions. The department is required by law to create such a program but has blamed the delay on the Trump administration.
What happened to Manchin?
During Haaland’s testimony, the Interior Ministry released a statement Comments on the next program proposal will be published on June 30th, the same day as the current program ends.
Manchin received a copy of the press release during the hearing and immediately confronted Haaland with an alarming detail contained in the statement.
“Secretary Haaland, you all just issued a statement, the US Department of the Interior just issued a statement, and the statement essentially says, ‘A proposed program is not a decision to issue specific leases or to authorize drilling or development.’ ‘ Manchin said.
“It’s from your office,” he explained. “So it looks like you’re shutting everything down.
“I, I, I, I – I’m sorry, I’m sitting in this hearing and not -” Haaland stumbled.
“My god – that turns it off,” Manchin shot back. “It shows what your intention is.”
Inner sec Haaland confronts anti-energy memo released during hearing: ‘That shuts it down’
After Manchin pressed further, Haaland claimed the document did not say the Home Office would not issue oil leases, although Manchin read directly from the Home Office press release.
Manchin then chided Haaland over the Home Office’s decision to delay proposing a new auction program.
“We’re getting this at the last possible day, at the last possible minute, knowing there are other steps to go through,” Manchin said. “The timing is not right that it took you as long as you could.”
Later in the hearing, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) managed to force Haaland to admit that even with a new lease auction program, there is no actual deadline for new drilling to begin.
“That’s actually the concern we all have that there really isn’t a deadline,” Lankford fumed. “That the proposal to talk about it comes at the time it should be done and that will stretch out over the next two, three years of talking about it.”
https://www.theblaze.com/news/joe-manchin-confronts-deb-haaland-oil-leases ‘My God’: Senator trips home secretary after confronting her about agency’s own testimony