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Manchin urges Biden to nominate National Park Service Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland testified Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee about the Administration’s budget request for the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2022.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Chairman of the Committee, raised concerns about the lack of funding requested for critical mineral resource assessments, despite $50 million having recently been authorized for FY 2022 in the Energy Act of 2020. Increased investment in critical minerals assessment is critical to preserving America’s energy independence, maintaining our global competitiveness, and strengthening domestic supply chains.

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin applauded the Administration’s commitment to investing in and revitalizing coal communities, and called on President Biden to nominate a National Park Service Director, a position formally vacant since 2017.

“I was pleased to see that the President’s budget called for $50 million increase for the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grant program which helps to eliminate health and safety hazards and reclaim areas for future economic benefit in places like West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Kentucky,” Manchin said.

“But I am disappointed that we have yet to receive a nomination for a Director of the National Park Service. National Parks — including New River Gorge, our nation’s newest national park and preserve — are seeing record visitation this summer as the nation reopens. And the National Park Service has significant funding decisions to make in implementing the Great American Outdoors Act. Yet the Park Service has been without a confirmed Director since the end of the Obama Administration. I urge the President to send us a nomination so we can get this position filled as quickly as possible,” Manchin said.

Manchin questioned Secretary Haaland on the status of the Administration’s review of the federal oil and gas leasing programs. In response, Secretary Haaland stated that a review was being “finalized” and that the Interior Department expect its release “very soon.”

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