HOUSTON – Sen. Joe Manchin lit into the Biden appointee overseeing the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over stalled pipeline permits Friday, demanding that he do his “damn job.”
The West Virginia Democrat, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is critical of FERC’s handling of natural gas pipelines under President Biden, particularly as energy prices soar amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Last week, the senator called the full FERC commission, including Chairman Richard Glick, before the committee to question the regulators over their policy decisions while pressing them to allow certain stalled projects to move forward.
Glick, speaking at the CERAWeek by S&P Global energy conference Thursday, defended his agency’s decision to withhold permits. He said some of the pipeline delays Manchin lamented at the Senate hearing were due to FERC’s efforts to ensure projects were done “right the first time.”
A proper process, Glick added, can avoid “years of litigation and … hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of extra cost.”
“Well, speak up and help us, Mr. Chairman Glick. Speak up and help us,” Manchin said in response to that when asked about Glick’s claims during a press briefing at CERAWeek the next day.
The senator said FERC is intentionally withholding guidance from permit seekers, saying that when he was governor of West Virginia, he told regulators working under his direction, “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 all of you.”
Manchin said that the federal government, through agencies such as the Department of the Interior and FERC, could be providing more guidance, but “they’re throwing so many more obstacles.”
“He went way outside of his wheelhouse, and he knows how I feel about that,” Manchin added.
And the senator bristled when asked about Glick’s concerns on projects being pushed through too quickly.
“I’m not saying push them through quickly,” Manchin said, “just do your damn job, that’s all I told him.”