Joe Manchin breaks with White House, opposes Interior Department nominee

 March 11, 2023

President Joe Biden has made no secret of his hostility to the fossil fuels industry and even acknowledged during the State of the Union address that oil companies have chosen not to make new investments in response to his policies.

However, the president's energy agenda hit a snag this week after a member of his own party blocked a key appointment. 

Joe Manchin opposes Interior Department nominee

According to Fox News, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin revealed this week that he will not support the woman Biden nominated to serve as Interior Department assistant secretary.

The senator laid out his reasoning behind that decision in an opinion piece published this week by 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," he wrote.

"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," Manchin explained.

Republicans join Manchin in opposes Daniel-Davis

"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," he continued.

Manchin is not alone in voicing opposition to Daniel-Davis, as Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines told Fox News that her "nomination should have been pulled over a year ago when she first failed to pass committee."

"The latest attack on oil and gas is no surprise. The Biden administration, his out of touch nominees and Senate Democrats have long put the cult of climate change ahead of energy security and local communities," he added.

Daines was referring to a leaked memo sent to Daniel-Davis, who currently serves as principal deputy secretary for land and minerals management.

Nomee previously worked for left-wing group

The memo argued that charging lower royalty rates for offshore drilling in Alaska would contribute to energy security.

"While a 16 ⅔ percent royalty may be more likely to facilitate expeditious and orderly development of [offshore] resources and potentially offer greater energy security to residents of the State of Alaska, a reasonable balancing of the environmental and economic factors for the American public favors the maximum 18 ¾ percent royalty for Cook Inlet leases," it read.

Fox News noted that Daniel-Davis chose to apply the maximum royalty rate and did not acknowledge the security ramifications of doing so.

The network also pointed out that prior to joining the Biden administration, Daniel-Davis worked for the National Wildlife Federation, something it says "has advocated for far-left climate policies."

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