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Interior’s Haaland Faces Senators’ Ire for Oil Leasing ‘Ban’

May 19, 2022, 4:33 PM

The Interior Department’s reluctant moves toward oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters is tantamount to a “ban,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said during a Senate panel hearing Thursday.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland drew the wrath of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members as Manchin joined Republicans in aggressively criticizing the agency for failing to be clear about whether it intends to hold oil and gas lease sales amid a period of high gasoline prices.

“Is your intent to lease unless you’re stopped from leasing?” Manchin said, adding the department’s earlier claims that 9,000 unused onshore drilling ...