Joe Manchin Rejects Another Biden Nominee, Says Administration Is Pandering To Climate Activists

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced Friday that he would reject yet another Biden nominee, arguing that the administration is pandering to climate radicals.

The move came after Manchin sank the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission earlier this week.

As he nears a probable reelection fight in deep-red West Virginia, the Democratic senator has decided to put his foot down on climate and energy issues. Manchin said he will not support the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis as assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior.

Manchin’s decision was influenced by an internal memo mistakenly posted on the Interior Department’s website, according to the Hill. The memo showed Daniel-Davis signing off on a colleague’s decision not to lower the fees that companies have to pay to the federal government to extract oil and gas, because of climate-change concerns.

“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,” wrote Manchin in Houston Chronicle op-ed.“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.”

Biden first nominated Daniel-Davis in June 2021. Manchin has previously voted for her in unsuccessful attempts to move her nomination to a floor vote.

The West Virginia senator wrote in the op-ed that he will have a simple test concerning future nominees: “Are they political partisans first or Americans first?”

The growing rift puts pressure on the Biden administration in its attempt to accomplish its climate and energy priorities. Not only does it have to contend with a Republican House, but also a thin Democratic majority in the Senate.

For Manchin, U.S. energy security is more important than party cooperation, explaining in his op-ed that “energy security is national security.”

Manchin added that the executive branch has failed to properly implement energy-related sections of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed in 2022.

“Despite the promise and progress offered within the IRA, the Biden administration continues to ignore congressional intent on critical components of the IRA,” wrote Manchin. “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.”

Manchin said the Treasury and Interior Departments “explicitly and unabashedly violated the letter of the law, the intent of the law, or both.”

By way of example, he said Treasury’s implementation of electric-vehicle tax credits designed to curtail China’s dominance over the industry amounted to gross mishandling.

In Manchin’s view, instead of abiding by the law, Treasury pandered to climate activists, leading him to try to tank a third Biden nominee this week: Danny Werfel for the position of IRS commissioner, ultimately confirmed with Republican support.

Manchin said the proper implementation of the IRA is important in reaffirming America’s status “as the global energy superpower.”

Though Manchin has not yet announced his intent to run for reelection, he has increasingly positioned himself closer to Republicans. West Virginia has seen an political transformation since the 1990s, swinging from deep blue to deep red.

Last month, when he was asked if he still considers himself to be a Democrat, Manchin replied: “I identify as an American. . . . I’m an American through and through.”