By Thomas Catenacci | Fox News | Published March 10, 2023 2:04pm EST
Read more at https://www.foxnews.com/politics/manchin-tanks-biden-nominee-over-climate-activism
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.
“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,” Manchin wrote in an op-ed for The Houston Chronicle.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
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President Biden first nominated Daniel-Davis for the position in June 2021. Since then, she 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.
The White House announced on Jan. 23 that it would again send the nomination back to the Senate.
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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.
“Laura Daniel-Davis’ nomination should have been pulled over a year ago when she first failed to pass committee,” Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., told Fox News Digital earlier this week. “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.”
On March 3, a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management memo addressed to Daniel-Davis was leaked, showing that the agency projected energy security would be bolstered if the administration charged lower royalty rates for an offshore oil and gas lease in Alaska.
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“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,” the memo stated.
Daniel-Davis ultimately signed off on the maximum royalty rate option without publicly acknowledging the energy security implications of that decision. The memo resulted in a rebuke from Manchin and additional calls from Republicans like Daines for her nomination to be withdrawn.
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