Manchin Kills Biden Nomination That Would Have Made Energy Crisis Even Worse

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Like during the late 1970s and early ’80s, the country is currently experiencing an energy crisis. The similarities are striking, especially the fact that Democrats also controlled the executive branch then. But one part of it that’s different today is the way Joe Biden and his administration are acting in ways that can only make the problem worse.


The most recent example came about a week ago, when a stunning, internal Department of the Interior (DOI) memo leaked. The injury here was self-inflicted; someone in the department accidentally posted the memo on their website. As my colleague Nick Arama wrote:

Former Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton acknowledged in a memo late last year that charging fossil fuel companies less to drill in the 958,202 acres of the Cook Inlet off the coast of Alaska would provide greater energy security for the country.

The lower price would have been 16.67 percent.

But Lefton didn’t recommend that the government follow that route,

…[b]ecause of the serious challenges facing the Nation from climate change and the impact of [greenhouse gasses] from fossil fuels, BOEM is not recommending this option since it would not include an appropriate surcharge to account for those impacts.

She instead recommended companies be charged a 18.75 percent fee.

Arama added that Laura Daniel-Davis, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, rubberstamped the higher fee, writing that

this rate constitutes the most reasonable balancing of environmental and economic factors for the American public.


After reading the leaked memo, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was not a happy camper, saying that “he was appalled by what the memo admitted,” and closing his statement with:

I will not support anyone who agrees with this type of misguided reasoning.

His reaction was bad news for the members of his party, who up to this point had hoped to sneak a staunch adherent to radical climate activism through confirmation for the DOI’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management role. Her name? Laura Daniel-Davis.

Now, it’s official—Manchin says he’ll block Daniel-Davis as Biden’s DOI nominee. That “effectively kills” the nomination:

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced Friday he will block a key Department of Interior (DOI) nominee from moving forward over her climate activism.

Manchin noted that his decision — which effectively kills President Biden’s nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis to serve as DOI’s assistant secretary for land and minerals management — came in response to an internal agency memo that was leaked last week. The memo showed that Daniel-Davis, who holds a lower position at DOI, signed off on an explicit decision to prioritize climate policies over energy security.


Manchin wrote in a Friday op-ed in The Houston Chronicle:

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.

Fox News Digital reported on Daniel-Davis’ background:

Daniel-Davis, who currently serves as principal deputy secretary for land and minerals management, previously served in a leadership position for the National Wildlife Federation, a group that has advocated for far-left climate policies. Senate Republicans have consistently opposed her nomination and expressed concern about her views on energy issues.

The report added that this is the Biden Administration’s second attempt to get her approved by the Senate. She previously “failed two votes” to get out of committee:


….[S]he has appeared in two confirmation hearings before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but has failed two votes for her nomination to be passed to a floor vote.

This was absolutely the right move for Manchin to take, when the administration insists on making wrongheaded moves on energy, only to forward a radical progressive agenda that will make the energy crisis we’re in worse. Hopefully, other Democrats will come to realize the dangers of the path like Manchin seems to have. But don’t hold your breath.


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