Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator from West Virginia and the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, has taken significant actions in his ongoing dispute with President Joe Biden’s administration regarding fossil fuel policy. On Wednesday, Manchin canceled a previously scheduled hearing and withdrew his support for Biden’s nominee for a crucial renewable energy position. This development is the most recent in a series of conflicts between the moderate Democrat and the White House. Analysts observe that this situation poses a challenge for the Biden administration, but it also presents an opportunity for Manchin to secure his Senate reelection. As he currently represents a state that is leaning towards the Republican Party, Manchin aims to demonstrate a firm stance against President Biden on certain issues in order to gain an advantage over his Republican opponent.
The Senate committee responsible for reviewing Jeff Marootian’s nomination as assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy had originally planned to vote on the nomination. However, the vote has now been removed from the committee’s agenda.
Joe Manchin released a statement to The Hill, explaining that although he had previously expressed his support for Marootian’s nomination in December, his stance has since changed. Manchin cited the fact that the office for which Marootian was nominated has proposed what he considers to be radical regulations. According to Manchin, these regulations aim to phase out the use of fossil fuels, a policy position that he finds uncomfortable and cannot support.
In 2022, President Biden nominated Marootian for a position while Marootian was serving as an adviser to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. Biden later re-nominated Marootian earlier this year. In March, Granholm addressed the House Appropriation Committee and stated that the Energy Department’s proposed regulations for new gas stoves would not impact a significant portion of the currently available models.
Granholm clarified at the time that only the more expensive gas stoves would be affected by the proposed regulations. She emphasized that this did not indicate an intention by the Biden administration to impose a ban on gas stoves, contrary to what some Republican leaders were suggesting.