Feb 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin urges Biden to support "responsible" natural gas

manchin
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The chairman of the Senate's energy committee wants President Biden to consider the "many benefits of responsible domestic natural gas production" as the administration crafts its executive energy policies.

Why it matters: West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin's position, spelled out in a new letter to Biden, comes as Manchin is poised for an influential role in the administration's legislative efforts.

  • Beyond leading the energy panel, Manchin's vote is important because of the Democrats' razor-thin Senate majority.

The big picture: The letter from Manchin, whose state has substantial gas output, says the U.S. production boom has bolstered energy security, supports lots of jobs and has given the U.S. geopolitical leverage.

The intrigue: Gas is a point of tension within the Democratic coalition.

  • Lawmakers from gas-producing states don't see eye-to-eye with environmentalists who want much more aggressive steps to transition away from all fossil fuels.
  • Natural gas spews far less CO2 than coal when burned for power. But releases of the powerful greenhouse gas methane further up the development chain are a big problem.
  • Manchin's letter calls for use of current tech and innovation to curb methane releases, and efforts to advance CO2 capture tech for industrial gas applications.
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