Senator Joe Manchin slammed President Joe Biden’s appointment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over pipeline permits that are bogged down in bureaucratic red tape, begging him to do his “damn job.”
The moderate Democrat, representing the state of West Virginia is one of the largest natural gas producers in the nation and who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has been critical of FERC as oil and gas prices have already risen due to the Russia-Ukraine war, though prices have been rising exponentially since Biden came into office.
Manchin called the entire commission, led by Richard Glick, before his committee to question them on government policies even while demanding a certain stalled projects be reinstalled, Fox Business reported Friday, adding that Glick guarded his agency’s action to suspend permits while speaking Thursday at the CERAWeek by S&P Global energy conference.
Some of the pipeline delays noted by Manchin at the Senate hearing, according to the senator, were caused by FERC’s efforts to ensure projects were done “correctly the first time.” According to Glick, a competent strategy might prevent “years of litigation and… hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in additional expenditures.”
“So, Mr. Chairman Glick, speak out and assist us. Speak up and assist us,” Manchin said the next day when questioned about Glick’s claims during a news conference at CERAWeek.
The Democratic senator accused FERC of purposefully withholding guidance from permit applicants, recalling that when he was governor of West Virginia, he told regulators, “If you go out with a cease and desist order before you try to help someone do something right and tell them what they’re doing wrong, shame on ya.” Shame on you all.”
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Manchin also argued that the federal government, through agencies such as the Department of the Interior and FERC, should be providing more counsel to the private sector, but “they’re throwing up so many more roadblocks.”
When questioned about Glick’s comments regarding projects being rushed through, the senator grew furious. “I’m not saying speed them through,” Manchin said. “All I told him was to do your damn job.”
The criticism comes as the cost of fossil fuels has risen dramatically, and while the White House blames the price rises mostly on Russia, prices for oil, gasoline, and natural gas have risen throughout Biden’s first year in office, according to The Daily Signal.
The nationwide average price for regular unleaded gasoline, according to AAA, is $4.31 per gallon. This is up from $3.47 a month ago, before to Russia’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine. A year ago, when Biden was president for less than two months, the national average price was $2.81.