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tv   Interior Secretary Testifies on Presidents 2023 Budget  CSPAN  June 8, 2022 10:01pm-12:33am EDT

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committee come to order.
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this morning, the committee will review their presidents proposed budget for the department of interior. i would like to welcome the secretary haaland, and secretary rideau as well as denise fine again. thank you all for being here. the president's fiscal year budget proposes just over 18 billion dollars of the department of interior that. is an increase of 1.9 billion dollars. almost 11% over the current appropriate level. on a positive note, the budget includes significant funding increases for most the libelous, almost 8% increase in staffing levels. much-needed restoration to the previous cuts. the budget also includes four implementations of an agency deferred maintenance, all that we see a funding from the great american outdoors act. we are holding this hearing during trying times, putin's horrific invasion of ukraine, russia's weaponization of oil and gas, increasing energy and
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food prices worldwide, and the growing challenge of competition with china. given the current global situation, is essential to the united states to step up to the plate as a superpower of the world that we are. that includes the responsible development of our abundant energy and resources. fortunately, even as we see russia way to war, this administration is made its opposition to domestic oil and gas productions crystal clear. on and off federal lands and waters. secretary haaland, when you are before the committee early last year, i sold two i submitted -- to review the oil and grass before resuming sales. in july, while you are here during last year's budget hearing, i made clear that the time for a pause had come and gone. almost a year and a half into this mid administration as a world -- that we still have no new leases. when interior how law officer released in the fall because of a court order, those cells were subsequently vacated by another court.
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and the administration for some reason declined to appeal or defend them. on charlie sales have finally been scheduled for june, albeit with only 20% of the land made available. alongside a royalty rate increased to 18.7 5%. again, only because of a court order to comply with requirements of the law. which really requires sales. this presidents secretary quickly clarify that quote. the presidents policy was to ban additional leasing. i'm sorry to say it has become crystal clear that the pause is in fact a ban. making good on that ban a week ago today the entire department announced it would not be holding the three remaining officer really sales that could be held under the current five-year program. as you know, senator kelly and i wrote to the president urging him to develop and implemented the next five-year program without delay. we pointed out the gulf of mexico produces among the clean in the world would offset foreign imports shift across the ocean. unfortunately, we have no reason to believe that a new five year offshore leasing
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program will be completed on time this summer. as is required by law. or that if and when it is completed it will actually provide any lease sales at all. if that's the case, this will be the first time in history the replacement plan was not published on time. now, the administration continues to say that there are 9000 permits setting unused and that's why we don't need to do anymore leasing on shore or offshore. let's talk about this magic number of 9000. first, this is a number of onshore drilling permits, i repeat, onshore drilling permits. that's a distinction that isn't being made. an important when you realize it's also being used as an argument against the offshore leasing. second, now focusing on onshore, the starters pay to apply for this permit months if not longer in advance. due to the arduous review process, there might be more you need to do once you file and get the permit before you can drill. third, while it is true that the number of drilling permits it slightly higher than normal
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it is not true that they are setting unused. pending schedule a drill, right to finding labor materials, these all-time. which is why the permits are valid for two years and can be extended for good cause. this makes sense. according to the bureau of land management, over sent thousand others permits were extended, passed their initial two-year term. now that oil prices are high, we are quick to forget there were a present a negative oil prices in april in 2020. during the covid pandemic. it is not surprising that the company is asked for permit expansions and the bailed and granted them. now i'm not naive enough to how business operates. oil and gas companies can get these leases and hold on to them at such a low rental rate compared to state and private land that it also makes sense to have them on their books for inventory. even if the plan isn't necessarily to develop the middle. we make it too easy. that has been the problem.
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that's what we thought we'd get something back, to show how we could correct that. let me be clear, i -- with the state and private markets. we should not be making our public lands a bargain basement deal. i also believe that we ought to stream on are committing processes to it's more comparable to stay in private land. 12 and a half percent, they're at 16 six. they're willing to pay the 16 six because of the time involved. if the administration's argument is industries to blame for these leases in permits then why don't they do something about it? why don't we make the changes? the fact is, the department of materials has authority to adjust royalty is, to be competitive, address banding and flaring, fix bonding rates, and raise rental rates to encourage production. so for example, if the concern is that too many leases are not being developed in a timely manner, the department could increase the rental rates overtime to provide a financial incentive. a disincentive against holding leases for speculation alone. you don't need legislation
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authority to do that. you have the authority to do that. we have been looking for your plan. $1.50 an acre for the first five years and 2000 acre thereafter, that is a sweetheart deal that doesn't give the needed push to develop. instead, the blm's schedule in east raise their point to 18.75 which was a penalty. which is further than i would've gone. i have said that. it doesn't discourage siding on the lease. the royalty on its own may distance incentive federally says it all. elsewhere, the administration has not been shy about rulemaking, that is the oil and gas sector. i don't understand why they have not made these common sense changes which we have talked about. let me throw out one other thing that we haven't heard from the administration. the percentage of onshore leases and production is the highest it has ever been in the past 20 years. leasing as part of the cycle of development. announcements that new leasing isn't in line of the presidents policy while taking concrete steps to block or severely
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limit nearly say have a chilling effect. yes, newly-sales would not immediately increase production. but the administration shortsighted approach that only focuses on current production presents americas energy, security at risk. the fact is the federal leases onshore and offshore are producing domestic oil and gas, paying royalties, and increasing our energy security and a way that is so far much more cleaner than what russia put into the market, when iran puts into the market, and white venezuela has ever put into the markets. my frustration is at an all-time high. we are talking to opec, iran, run israel or, to increase output will be at the same time blocking increase energy production at home. it makes no sense at all. just yesterday, the administration began the process of easing sanctions on venezuela, if you can believe this, easing the basic sanctions that we've kept venezuela at bay. by allowing chevron to go we get negotiate with a state oil
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-- about future activity. i guarantee you, it will not be clean. well i understand that doesn't give the greenlight yet to go beyond talks, it is acute or step in that direction in an intent of what they want to do. was it say the producers here in the united states when we consider working with the venezuelan government? we certainly doesn't share our volleys, instead of supporting domestic, or north american production. is this really in our best interest? is this the best we can do? in, that the best interest of the free world is at stake. i believe that we have two critical goals. addressing climate change and energy security. actions like these don't get any closer to either of those goals. from a methane emissions standpoint, venezuela oils are among the dirtiest in the world. putin's war in the ukraine must serve apparent wake up call to the international community that we cannot rely upon nations like russia, iran, venezuela, or china for u.s. or eller's energy security. the only way will be able to guarantee our energy security, which will also allow us to develop the technology to meet
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our climate goals, is to rely on ourselves and our proven partners around the globe. along the same lines, i look ahead to the energy transition and concern about our nation's supply of critical minerals. where the department plays an important role for the u.s. geological survey and the bureau of land management. unlike oil and gas, the administration has shown interest in reducing the reliance of china and other countries for key minerals. however, these early steps require follow-through. earlier this week, senator murkowski myself raised concerns about critical mineral deadlines from the energy act that multiple agencies, including, interior have not met. these are reports are relatively easy part, can particular compared to committing a new mining operation. while domestic mining is only a partial solution to a critical mineral challenges, make no mistake. we need to increase domestic critical mineral production and processing or we are going to regret it one day. because cd thing is taking note of what putin is doing. that's even more important
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within the administration so focused on electric vehicles which will expeditiously increased demand for nickel, lithium, cobalt, have a graph, or and -- if we are serious about climate and security, at some point in the very near future, new critical mineral minds will need to open on federal lands. we will need to onshore processing refining, manufacturing, and recycling. given my experience with the so-called leasing clause and the missed energy act deadlines, i must at mid, i am skeptical that this administration will ultimately support the development of these types of critical minerals projects in the united states of america. given my experience for the so-called leasing cause, and then this energy act deadlines, i must admit again that i am concerned. i hope for the sake of our country that i am proven wrong. now i'll recognize -- >> thanks so much for your very strong and compelling statement
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about the needs for affordable energy on a day that gas prices continue to have highs across the country. americans consumers are suffering significantly. the administration doesn't seem to care very much about what the impact is on american families who are trying to buy gasoline. at the same time, buy groceries, at the same time send kids to school. by clothing, maybe consider something they like to do for the summer. the gasoline prices, as a result of the administration's activities, and specifically department of interiors activities, it is very challenging for american families, which is no surprise that then under this administration three out of four americans think this country is heading in the wrong direction. i'm very happy that you're holding this hearing today. i'm very happy for the very strong statement that you have had, mister chairman. much more reflective of the needs of american people than the nasal demands of the climate elitist of this country who are running this administration. i do want to thank the secretary for being here to testify today. the department of interior as the steward for 20% of
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america's lands and much of america's waters. most of this land that the stewards of our is in the west. in wyoming, half of our land is owned by the federal government. this includes indian reservations, wildlife refuge, national parks, national recreation areas, and the vast bureau of land management holdings. and violin we are very proud of our natural parks. all of our parks. each year we host millions of visitors that come to enjoy the spectacular views and iconic wildlife of the grand tetons and of yellowstone national park. this year is a landmark for wyoming in the park service as we celebrate the 105th anniversary of yellowstone. the department also manages water, fight wildfires, overseas grazing and facilitates outdoor recreation. the west is confronting a historic drought with, rather rise drying up, it concerns me the bureau reclamation was the only bureau at the interior department that was actually cut in the budget request this year.
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the department needs to prioritize our rural ranching and farming communities. without water to grow crops and raise cattle, these communities would not exist. the food needs of the american people would be more dire and more expensive. the department also oversees much of the energy reserve of the country. no department sees a more critical role and enabling or undermining, either or, enabling or undermining american energy production. it seems today that this department is undermining american energy production. inflation at a 40 year high, energy prices skyrocketing, the job of secretary interior is prevail. during the last year gas prices have repeatedly hit new records. forcing american families to spend more on filling their tanks. every day i hear from wyoming families worried about making ends meet because of skyrocketing energy costs. i don't know if you saw this morning a prediction, mister
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chairman, they are talking now $6 a gallon gasoline this summer, later in the summer all across the united states! there is no place you can go where it is less than $4 a gallon. during this energy crisis when the department could be opening up abundant american oil and gas reserves, the department of interior has done everything possible to shut them down. the president says he wants his administration to encourage more american energy. instead, your department madam secretary stalls, postpones, and kills oil and natural gas leaks sales. your department is undermining domestic energy production. not expediting it! the results are apparent. since president biden took office, americans have become much more dependent on foreign sources of energy. meanwhile, the same administration has spent much of its time begging our adversaries to produce more oil. you said it right, mister
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chairman. well before the war in ukraine the administration, the president directly, was begging russia for more oil. they even put it on the white house website. not just oil, natural gas, coyle. we have plentiful minerals in this country. we need to find ways to increase, not decrease, the nation's most abundant natural resources. it wasn't long ago that the shale revolution help make our nation not just independent but dominate. america was uniquely positioned to help our allies free themselves from the yoke of russian energy. sadly, this administration has brought us to a counter revolution. complete with higher prices in a weaker economy. not what a president should be proud of. the american peoples polling shows that the american people is very disturbed by what this administration is doing. now it's the time to reverse
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course. i hope we can begin to identify areas where we can work together to make american energy dominant again. by working to restore american energy dominance, this department of interior could play a vital role in reducing the economic stress that has been caused by this administration on millions and millions of americans. i hope that you in the administration will seize the moment and reverse your destructive course. and, it is self destructive! members of the committee are also concerned with your department's failure to respect senate oversight responsibilities. you promised that this wouldn't happen, but it has. it was only two weeks ago that we finally received responses two questions for the record from last year's budget hearing. last year's hearing, we received answers two weeks ago. a pattern has become very clear in this administration and this department specifically. after delaying and obstructing
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an outright ignoring this committee mister chairman, the responses failed to provide answers to the questions that were posed to you! madam secretary, this too needs to change. i look forward to your testimony, thank you for joining us today. >> thank you senator, now we will turn to secretary haaland for a statement. >> chairman manchin, ranking member barrasso, it is a privilege to be here on the ancestral homeland of the and it cost an in piscataway people. it is an honor to be here today to speak to the president's 2023 budget to the department of the interior. i have the honor being the secretary to the interior for over a year now. i recognize the important of this moment to the success of our department in our country. through my travels and working in washington d.c. i've seen firsthand how every day in our corner our employees go to work with a focused on results. they work with their local
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communities, states, travel nations, and other partners to conserve and steward our nation's natural resources, cultural heritage, to the benefit of everyone. hoping to benefit jobs, grow the economy, and grow the resilience to the challenges our changing climate. i'm grateful that over the past year i have been able to visit many of your states and meet the great people that you represent. it is my hope that these visits will continue in the future. the work that we do would not be possible without your leadership and support. i look forward to continued collaboration on so many of these important issues. before we turn our attention to the budget, i have gotten a lot of questions about the outer continental shelf of your planning process and i want to talk about that upfront. the previous administration had stopped work, in 2018, on the new five year plan. there has been a lot to do to
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catch up on this. varying conflicting litigation has also been a factor. of course as i stated previously, ball one is moving forward expeditiously and the department will release the proposed program which is the next step in the five-year planning process by june 30th, which is the expiration of the current program. as we take the next step we will follow the science and the law, as we always do. this requires a robust and transparent review process, that includes input from the public, states, and tribes to inform our decision-making. we take this responsibility seriously, we are not prejudge-ing an outcome, i welcome your continued interest in inquiries. my team will follow up next month with details of a proposed plan. working together, we have the ability to make tangible differences in the lives are different -- across the country.
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i am proud that we have made great progress in the last year. we took steps to accelerate the development of renewable energy on public lands and waters. launched a federal boarding school initiative to address the intergenerational impacts of indian boarding school policy. deployed resources to build resources to address the drought crisis. presumed justice for missing indigenous people and work to keep travel communities safe. and we helped communities prepare against the threat of wild land fire by strengthening our federal firefighting workforce and the resilience of our lands. we also began implementing the bipartisan infrastructure law, once in a generation investments that will help communities tackle the climate crisis fokker d.viii inc. of, advancing environmental justice, and boosting local economies. it is already at work and interior, kick starting ongoing efforts to fight intensifying drought, wildfires, and legacy
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pollution. the president 2023 budget compliments this with a request of 18.1 billion for the interior department. our total request is a 12% increase from the 2022 enacted appropriation. specifically, the president's budget invest our country with an unprecedented total of 4.5 billion for indian affair program. focusing on tribal sovereignty in stronger tribal communities. up to 1.5 billion for wildly and fire management to increase firefighting capacity, continue the transformation to a more permanent and professional wild land firework force, and ensure federal firefighters are paid at least $15 an hour. complementing the transformative investment of the bipartisan infrastructure law, the 2023 budget includes 1.4 billion for reclamation programs and projects. a total of 4.9 million across
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the interior to strengthen natural resource management and improve the resilience of tribal and we managed lands. 125 million to advance the presidents ambitious clean energy goals by increasing offshore wind energy power generation and permitting of onto our renewable energy technologies. more than 1.4 billion dollars for research and development programs across the department to ensure science continues to underpin core activities in the interior. apple augmentation of our core access and. proactively rights racial justice and equal opportunity. i have great ambition for the department of the interior and what we can accomplish on behalf of the american people. working together we can do more to create good paying union jobs, increase the resilience of our lands, expand our ability to fight wild land fires and mitigate drought,
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strengthen tablet nations, improve the lives of americans everywhere. in conclusion, we are doing our part to advance priorities that build a better america. thank you again for having me. my colleague, deputy secretary tommy bordeaux, the knees fanning, and we are all happy to be here with you. we are happy to have any questions that you have. >> thank you, madam secretary. i'm gonna turn now to senator wuden who has to leave apparently to attend a meeting in finance to try to ensure that our children have formula. >> not a hearing but -- madam secretary, thank you very much. just a word on this energy debate in the not gonna go to forestry. a number of colleagues have heard this. i will say, colleagues, i think that there is a path out of the traditional gridlock with respect to energy policy. a number of you know about this
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because it was actually birthed here in the energy committee. it is premised on technological neutrality. market oriented private sector, incentives for reducing carbon, and i would just note this morning, colleagues, the chamber of commerce wrote everybody to say they like technological neutrality. environmental folks like technological neutrality. i just wanted to spend a quick minute, i so appreciate the courtesy of our chair to say it seems to me that all of our committees, all of our committees, i see my friend senator murkowski, because she was around when we burst this idea of technological nuke rowdy in respect to energy, getting government out of business. i just wanted to say a quick word as we all work together on this issue. madam secretary, great to see you.
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as you know, the west right now -- i see my friend senator heinrich right now we are consumed by the prospect of another very difficult summer getting hammered by fire. we know these fires today or not your grandfather's fire. bigger, hotter, more powerful. they leap over rivers. we get whole towns whacked! but i would like to start with as you know, we were able to secure a significant amount of funding for wildfire management in the infrastructure bill. five billion dollars. our rural communities are looking at this as a lifeline. i think it would be very helpful if you could start in and talk for example on how this money can be used, when it could be used, for targeted thinning, for prescribed fire fuels treatment, if you could just walk us through a bit about your plans to use that money to help the west.
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i'll tell you, everything we are seeing, madam secretary, another very, very, ominous fire season. please. >> thank you senator. certainly i understand what you were saying, new mexico is facing, already, a really terrible fire year. it is devastating, it is heartbreaking, friends of ours having to evacuate. we understand that, completely. i am sorry, unfortunately there is a terrible trout, as you know, in the west. we are very grateful for the overall investment from the bipartisan infrastructure law. close to one and a half billion over five years. that will work on fuels management and rehabilitation. i also want to say, up front, that very proud to have a very strong working relationship with secretary vilsack and the
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team in the forest service to make sure that we are working together to do all we can. we need to make sure that we have the boots on the ground in those areas. one of the things that we are addressing, i mentioned it in my opening remarks, working to make sure firefighters make at least $15 an hour, moving some of the seasonal jobs into full-time jobs. all of those things the equipment, the people, the fewest management in areas. but >> one other question if i'm i, madam secretary. i especially appreciate the extra pay for firefighters. we have known this has been so outrageous over these years to see these folks not getting paid anything resembling a fair
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wage really appreciate that i've been home i've been having town hall meetings across through oregon i'm still hearing from a lot of folks on the ground. local agencies that they really haven't gotten the information that they need with respect to how the federal government is going to work for them with respect to wildfire response. do you have plans that you could give us? since i was chair of the committee, i remember how he used to do it. it goes to senator manchin, senator barrasso and the like, do you have plans that you could get us that we could get them out to our local agencies? i am still getting a lot of questions on that. maybe you could even describe them. i'm almost out of time but please. senator, we are more than happy to give you as many details as you would like. our staff will absolutely reach out to your staff and if there are specific questions about specific numbers of acreage and funding and so forth we can put all those things together and make sure you have the answers for you constituent. >> whatever you have been
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writing would be great. we look forward to it, you have always been responsive, i remember working with you in the house, thank you very much. >> senator barrasso? >> first to senator wyden, he's ready to leave, i had noted that the people of oregon gave you a 90% victory in the primary. clearly your meeting, your turn around the state, traveling people are listening to you, and you listen to them. >> madam secretary, the president has repeatedly claimed to be doing, quote, everything he could do to lower record high gasoline and energy prices. april 15th your department announced it was finally complying with a federal court order to held onshore oil and gas leases. you then reduce the parcels offered by 80%. then you increase the royalty on production by 50%. so, you get less, you pay more. it seems like it's secretary haaland's price hike here, not putin's. please explain how your price hike on american energy
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production is going to help lower gasoline and home energy prices? >> senator, ranking member, thank you very much for the question. with respect to current energy, new drilling has been up. they began drilling nearly 1900 new oil and gas wells in 2021 alone. we have issued an approved more than 4700 drilling permits since january 2021. 1100 and 2022 alone. we have worked to do our jobs, we are following the science, we are following the law with respect to some of the reforms that we made, i feel very, i take my job very seriously. it is my job to manage and conserve all of our public lands for every single american. those, of course, are the things that are taken into
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consideration, considering the climate crisis that we are in. we have felt that implementing several reforms such as issuing lee says where current infrastructure exist for example would be move our country forward with respect to making sure we are conserving the land and also doing our jobs to produce energy. >> thank you, madam secretary. you and i both know that taxpayers get absolute zero return when we keep american energy in the ground and we turn to venezuela or iran or others. madam secretary, a closer view of the parcels that we are offered in a home state of wyoming, so that you are only offering parcels that are likely to have little interest. her example, the parcels are not near existing infrastructure.
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why aren't we offering, and you, offering the most attractive parcels? >> senator, i would be happy to look into that. we speak to people on the ground. we have an idea of where those leases should happen. it is, i mean, there is a science behind it. if you would like, we would be happy to follow up with you on any specific parcels that you are referring to. >> thank you, madam secretary. that would be very helpful. the producers in wyoming are telling me that the best parcels have been taken off the table. if you actually wanted to produce more american energy, you wouldn't take the best leasing options off the table. i wanted to move on to wet you announced this morning. you announced the department would release a proposed five-year plan on offshore oil and gas leases. you are way behind schedule, not providing any details on the plan, two weeks ago the
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senate voted to support my motion to finalize a new five year plan by june of 2022. well, that's coming up at about six weeks. my motion requires the new plan to include regressed leasing with at least ten regionwide lease sales off of alaska, the gulf of mexico, with a minimum of two sales per calendar year. now, a large majority of this committee, both sides of the aisle, voted for and it passed the senate. will you finalize a new five year plan by this date that the senate, the bipartisan way, is recommending that includes at least ten regionwide sales off of alaska and the gulf of mexico with at least two sales per year? >> ranking member, as i mentioned in my opening remarks, we are working on the process. we have been working on that process. there was, you know, the process was stopped in 2018, as i mentioned. there was a lot to catch up on. i will be happy to, will run a
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transparent process, we'll do what's required through the law. we are happy to keep you updated as to the progress that we are making on the five year plan. >> thank, you mister chairman, the administration can't have it both ways. the administration can't pretend to support oil and gas production while doing everything in their power to slow down and lock expanded production on public lands. thank you, mister chairman. >> thank you, senator. i'll go with my questions next, if you do not mind. i would like to ask the same thing. follow up on offshore and onshore. all we are asking for, can you commit to doing the listen? i know you're going to do the plan. we are committing to the leasing. that goes with it. there is no guarantee that's going to happen on either onshore or offshore. if you can't answer, i understand, but i have to get the answer from, if you can, is your intent to lease? >> thank you, chairman.
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our intent is to follow the law. we know that this five year plan is in the works right now. i could not tell you if i tried what is in it at the moment. >> let me just if i can. i am so sorry to interrupt you. never before has there not been a lease that i know of when the plan was put forward. it was put forward the intent to lease. it was followed up with leasing. you seem to be hesitant. i understand. i'm not trying to put you in a tough spot. i just want to know, is the administration, you have your top people with the right now, is your intent to lease unless you're stopped releasing? >> chairman, we have continued to lease, thank you, we have continued to lease. in fact, i won't mention the permits. i know that isn't something you want to hear.
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truth be told, right now, currently, onshore, there are more than 12 million acres under lee's. offshore, more than 8 million acres under these. it's clear that we are leasing. >> those have been previous. the bottom line is you have the ability to make some of the changes which we recommended. those practical changes. they should have been made by now. you don't need us. you can look and review it. and we think sort out of bounds, we will pull you back. and we think that basically, there needs to be adjustment program, private sector understands. it leases they're holding, they should not be holding them. they will if they are cheap as they are. there's a lot of justice that can be made. we are not making any attempt. i'm not going to belabor this anymore. when i am going to do is this. my good friend here from mexico, senator heinrich, showed me the fires are dealing with. in mexico, all over the last. those of us on the east coast don't really understand. i started asking questions to the people who do basic lee,
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the timber industry. i found out that on private lands, local citizens can act as their good samaritans and put it out before it gets out of control. if it happens on a federal lands, they are not able to do this. it does not make any sense to me. i talk to people who were basically, they had contracts to cutting. lightning strikes, they sought start, they could not quick enough to put it out before. they had to call the federal government. by the time you got there, you had a raging out of control fire. i never knew this, senator. this is something new to me. it doesn't make any sense. i'm sure, i don't know it's intended to that to happen, but they're telling me that they cannot go on as a good samaritan on federal lands. is that what you understand? anybody? >> chairman, i am very, very happy to look into this for you. >> it doesn't make sense, does
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it? >> i appreciate your concern. i will absolutely -- >> my senators here, yeah, you want to say something? >> i am just walking, and sorry. i would say my community is after a severe fire. several years ago, i mean, we have them every year. after the loss of four firefighters, i think people really do believe that the community can be involved in what we termed hasty response. hasty response is an integrated system of local county officials and people working together to jump on you need changes in our climates driving much warmer temperatures. my colleague, senator richmond, he has the incident response command in idaho. you can go and visit that. they will tell you, they will show you the mapping, with
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these dry conditions, fire starts are so much more easily to happen. so, we have to create a system that now response to that. the escalation, so, everything's lot drier, and you have the ability to have many more fire starts, having hasty response -- so, we have done some work on this, mister chairman, we can do more. >> let me just say this, if i may. i was talking to one of the larger companies that do tempering on federal lands. they are out in the -- there is no quick response. he told me they saw the lightning strike. they saw the fire start. they had to call it in. it did not make sense to me. is there a prohibition, hey that is of saying. if there is not, they misled me. if there, is we have got to change that. these are professional timber people that could probably, it's in their best interest to stop the fire before it goes out of control. and is asking that question.
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i know we've taken a long time. i have another question i want to ask also. >> chairman, if i could say very quickly, we were consistently with states, tribes, local communities to make sure that this is a coordinated effort. we know how important and dire the situation is. >> i just have one more question on that. i will turn to my fellow colleagues. i've heard so much about the flaring that goes on in public lands. i know on, i mean, on private lands, i know that they do everything they can to capture. it is a valued asset. it is a valued product. some are saying, why are they flaring, why are they doing this? -- [inaudible] to take the flaring, take the methane off. my question would be, has the department taken any steps to reduce venting and flaring on our public lands by expediting, expediting, through the process of getting a pipeline to take
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that dangerous and harmful methane off and to the market that needs it? senator, chairman, thank you so much. yes, we all need to reduce -- yes, it causes a lot of health problems as well. i understand. that we are continuing to issue permits were gathering lines. congress is providing additional authority in the bipartisan infrastructure law. we will move that forward as we can. i appreciate that being a priority. i'm >> going to go to firefighters right now. we've had some horrific -- you know, we had a firefighter, they took their life just very quickly. we put additional funding in the infrastructure bill,
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bipartisan infrastructure bill? have you started using that funding to try to address the mental illness problems that we are concerned about with these brave firefighters? >> that is a priority for us, chairman. i could not tell you whether the funding is in the works -- >> as quickly as possible. >> we are working on that. we agree with you. that is something that absolutely is a priority for our department. >> senator daines, thank you. >> chair mentioned, thank you. secretary haaland, i want to first thank you for beginning with the process and release the initial investigative report of the tragic history of federal indian boarding school policies. it's extremely port an issue to me and our montana tribes, i look forward to working with you on this issue going forward. i thank you. under the endangered species acts, the secretary of interior has 90 days to respond to petitions to list or d list of
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species. it's been nearly 150 days since montana governor, doug jean forte to filed a petition to a list the northern continental divide eco central population, the grizzly bear, almost 130 day since governor gordon of my omen filed a petition for the greater yellowstone ecosystem. during your confirmation hearing last year you agree to these two population grizzly bears had met recovery criteria. secretary haaland, why is the department delayed and responding to these petitions? when can these two governors expect an answer? >> thank you very much, senator, for the question. i know that the fish and wildlife services is working to complete the review of the petitions that you mentioned. today less a grizzly bear. the implementation of the esa is guided by science and the law. i would be happy to, when i return this afternoon to mine
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office, to inquire about a timeline and would make sure that martha or someone reaches out. >> perspective, i they did respond to some activists who looked to realest the gray wolf populations on may 26 and june 29th. that was when 114 days, 80 days respectively, there is far more data supporting grizzly recovery then wolf relisting. after u.s. is supposed to prioritize partitions in part based on existing established data. not politics. >> thank you very much, senator. i will find out where that is. i will make sure that they are responding. >> thank you, your agencies five your status review concluded the bear was recovered. it is my understanding the state of montana has responded to agency feedback regarding our conservation plan.
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what reason could you have for not moving forward favorably. >> senator, i just want you to know that we work, we continuously work with states, with tribes. i know martha especially being from iowa ming is also, is in contact with folks in the state government. i will be happy to look at their timeline. i will make sure they reach out to you. martha's from montana, by the way. martha's from montana. earlier this year, you -- devoid of any facts, or substance, but nonetheless threatening montana with emergency listing. secretary haaland, have wolf populations in the northern rockies management union, unit, fallen below 150 wolves? >> senator, i couldn't tell you the exact number of wolves.
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i am happy to get that information. >> i can tell you that number. there are an estimated 1177 wolves in montana alone this year. the minimum target here as 150 for that unit. so, that's the number. secretary haaland, have wolf populations in either state fallen below 100 walls for three consecutive years in a row? >> senator, when i can say about wolves, i know they are doing well in certain parts of the country. they are not doing so well in other parts of the country. >> are they doing well in montana? >> senator, if i could say, the work we are doing with respect to wolves in the esa, it is guided by science and the law. i feel confident that our team is working within those parameters. >> okay, i could not agree more with science and the law. do you realize that gray will
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populations in montana have remained above 1000 walls for over ten consecutive years? senator, i don't know the exact number of wolves. i beg your pardon. i would be happy to get that number for you. and make sure you have the information that you require. >> as you said, the science is really important. the law is important. the numbers are important. i hope you get up to speed on this. it is a very important issue for us out west. it is not that hard to get the data. i have expected to actually have that in this hearing, with all due respect, secretary haaland, is there any data that shows montana's law significantly increased the threat to gray wolves in montana? >> senator, i know that wolves have made a remarkable comeback from when they were first listed. that is in thanks to all the partnerships that we have made. i know that your state has done that remarkable job in ensuring
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that the ecosystems support the animals that are there. the fish and wildlife service will make a 12 month finding at the end of the review. i believe that is in september. we can't update you further -- >> thank you, i'm out of time. let the record show, the data shows that the wolf population are way over the recovery target. way over. as well as the grizzly bear populations. it's time to de-list the grizzly bear, returned the management of that wonderful species, that has recovered, back to the states of montana, idaho, and wyoming. thank you. >> thank you senator, senator heinrich? >> thank you, thank you for interest in the fires. we are seeing really different fire behavior these days. we are in a drought that hasn't been this bad for 1200 years. we are seeing wind events that
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we've never seen before. it is very, we have almost 2000 people on one fire. it's simply impossible for them to hold lines when we have, we've had times when there have been seven, eight, nine red flag days in a row. if you have 48 mile a lighter winds, 50 mile an hour winds, you can't put the tankers up in the air, it's dangerous, you can put the helicopters up in the air. sometimes, you can't put firefighters in front of these spotting fires. it's just very difficult. we're going to have to reevaluate how we fight fires. how do prescriptions. i very much appreciate your interest. we are going to have to work together on it. >> i'm committed to help. >> deputy airy secretary kudrow, i want to ask you, you've been around for a couple second -- oil and gas production, at least in my state of new mexico, up or down? >> oil and gas production,
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onshore and offshore, are at record levels, actually. a lot of this conversation has been focused on leasing but then it gets conflated in allegations that the administration has somehow anti production. >> are we producing more or less oil and gas in new mexico on public land? >> more. >> yeah, according to the eia, our production is up over 400% in the last decade. i just, i only raise that, it's hard to square with some of the rhetoric we hear here on the hill. i want to move to hard rock mine cleanup. secretary, and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, congress finally authorized a dedicated hard rock my reclamation program. something we needed for decades and decades. i was really pleased to see and the presidents budget a request for $85 million for hard rock mine cleanup. that funding is channeled
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through the abandoned mine lands program and through the energy community revitalization program, which is actually kind of designed to deal with abandon oil and gas wells. why not simply take that $85 million and fund the a ban, or the hard rock mine reclamation program that we authorized in the infrastructure bill? >> senator, thank you for recognizing the need for us to clean up that legacy of pollution across the country. we are grateful to have the opportunity do you change peoples lives in that way. not only by creating jobs, but cleaning up their environment. the pollution doesn't cause health problems -- >> i appreciate that comment, we are happy to speak with you yell bell, we're happy to speak
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more with you about this issue, and of course, follow the lead, the departments is requesting 65 million and the o s to address these hard rock mines. >> yeah, i think it makes sense to stand up, a stand-alone program that really focuses on this. it was a challenge to get this established. it took decades. i think now is the time, i look forward to working with you on that. can you talk a little bit about how the, how you're tracking conservation progress? i know the president has articulated some are aggressive goals. the 30 by 30 sort of goal is out there. how are you actually tracking, wetlands interior has protected, what kind of progress you're able to make towards those?
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>> thank you, senator. thank you for mentioning the america the beautiful initiative, which is really very unifying opportunity for our country. to conserve for the future. there is an atlas that is coming out, i believe, the beta version is out sometime this summer. that will be able to track those lands more consistently. we are happy to keep you updated on when we are rolling that out. and i think it will be a really great opportunity. >> thank you, chairman. >> i'm sorry, by the end of the year, the atlas by the end of the year. >> i look forward to having a chance to review that when it comes out. >> if i may, real quickly, secretary haaland, did you all just put out a statement, the u.s. department of interiors put out statements.
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the statement basically says, a proposed program is not a decision to issue specific leases or to authorize any drilling or development. this is from your office. it looks like you are -- you want to shut everything down. did you know you all put this out? >> i'm sorry, i am sitting in this hearing. >> my god, somebody, somebody this shut down. this is saying what your intent is. >> -- >> basically, it says secretary haaland provides updates on offshore leasing program during the senate testimony. during testimony, before the utah senate committee on energy and natural resources today, secretary of the interior, deb haaland, confirmed that despite delays and importation from the previous administration, the interior department will release the proposed program. the next step in the five-year offshore energy plan process by june 30th, 2022. which is the expiration of the current program.
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a proposed program is not a decision to issue specific leases, or to authorize any drilling or development. so, we're going to do the proposal, but that doesn't guarantee they're going to do any leasing at all. >> chairman, when i can say is i believe that i saying is that it is the plan that is coming out. -- >> but you're promising it by saying, after your knowledge-ing the plan, you have it a planned by june 30th, but she went further to say that doesn't mean that you're issuing any specific leases. if you have a plan, it should have, i mean, we've never done, this is history. we've never done that before, not issued leases. if you put a plan out. the plan has always been a long term five year plan to lease. >> i don't believe that it saying we're not going to do any of those things. i think it is, -- >> maybe i'm reading it wrong.
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we will get copies for everyone. >> i think it is saying that we are putting the plan out but not saying -- >> with the intent, in all honesty, i'm sorry, we're going to have to agree to disagree. yes sir? >> yes, senator chairman, if i could just sort of be clear. the five-year planning process is a steep three-step process. the trump administration did the first step in 2018. and then they dropped the process, largely because their energy dominants rhetoric caused a lot of alarm. it caused a lot of pushback. so, it is appropriate for us to take a step, be deliberate, as we think about potential future leasing described in a five-year program. with that statement says, by the end of june, we'll take step number two. it's just step number two in a three-step process. no decisions by leasing will be made until step number three. that's all that says. >> with all due respect, let me
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to say this. i'm told that we always got your step one, which you intend to do on june 30th a lot longer than the deadline. a lot of time in between. we would've had time to go to step two and three and a value it where you are going. if i send it clear to say no that you're looking at what's going to basically provide the assuredly that we can continue to provide for ourselves in america, the cleanest energy coming from the gulf, we're getting this at the last possible day, the last possible minute, knowing that there's other steps to go through. it gives us no security. that's all i'm saying. the timing is not right. you all have taken as long as you possibly could. >> i hear you, chairman. it is, as the secretary said, we have got a lot to put into our lap that we have to sort through. including the to calm down the american people, when he put out a plan that caused panic in republican states like florida, up and down the atlantic coast, we have to unpack all that.
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we understand that we are in challenging times right now. right now we need to send a clear signal that we can take care of ourselves in the united states. with that, who do we have? senator cantwell. >> back to the republican side? >> i wish i could be next. >> i know, i know senator lankford. >> mister chairman, thank you. let me finish up this conversation. june the 30th there is a release of a proposal there will be a comment period and everything else on offshore. when is the earliest we can actually start leasing? i know there is a comment period, i have a lot of other questions i want to go through but what is the earliest based on this proposal that we can actually start leasing? the five year plan is said to be done by that point. it's not done, it's a proposal. one is the earliest we could actually start leasing? >> senator, thank you for the question. we develop and release the
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develop and release of the proposed draft the programmatic environmental impact statement followed by a 90-day public comment period. we incorporate those comments into the development publishing of the proposed vinyl program. they final programmatic espn can be approved by me and adopted 60 days after that. we plan to propose, have the proposed program by june 30th, it's another 90 plus 60 150 days after that -- probably >> you're saying by the end of this year by december 31 at that point, in that calendar, you would be able to start leasing at that point? >> i will absolutely keep you abreast of the progress that we are making. make sure that this committee knows -- >> is it? when is the deadline on, to be able to start leasing, actually? to have this point done?
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>> i don't have -- i mean, i don't think there is an actual deadline. >> that is the concern, actually, that all of us have. there is no deadline. the proposal to talk about it is coming on the date that it should be done. this is going to again stretch out for two or three years of talking about it. we are trying to figure out when it's the deadline to actually start leasing? >> we will absolutely keep you informed. >> there is not a deadline on it? >> not at this moment. let me run a couple things past you. we have a military base in oklahoma has a large energy, a fountain of natural gas actually. it has been a priority for d.o.d. to make their bases more independent for energy at this point. we have been trying to get technical assistance from your office for the last five months to try to get the details of this. can you commit to me that we will be able to get some technical assistance? this is the priority of d.o.d., obviously of our state, but we are waiting on your team to be able to finish this out. >> i am so sorry if you have
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been waiting on us. i will absolutely make sure that someone reaches out to your staff this afternoon. >> it would be very helpful. we are dealing with the same -- osc minister of council. a tribal very dependent on ba. we have had multiple decisions that have been delayed for a long time. this also deals with the remediation of the plugging, all kinds of other things with the await mineral council. it seems to just be delay, delay, the latest we just got back with sometime in june. sometime we just want to decision on that. >> i want you to know that assistant secretary brian newman has been in touch with the tribe recently. he will continue to work with them. >> that was the letter that says we will get back to you and june. we've seen that letter as well from ryan. they are just trying to figure out when they are going to get answers. right now, they are just getting we will give you an answer at a future date. they are trying to get resolution on this. in the southwest, you may have heard about this, we try to give an update to your team we were asking about this, the
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administration talks a lot about critical mineral development. in the southwest there is a company that is trying -- that has gone through the leasing process to actually do leasing since 2017 on lithium in that area. now there is a pretty dramatic change, there has been withholding of the core of their lithium deposits. they are now saying, you can do all of your development but not in the core the project itself is being held out. all they are looking for is the information of how this decision is made and what they can actually get public about the actual mineral process itself. all they want is engagement. they are not getting the engagement at this point. these lithium deposits, i understand we are trying to go after. again it's just engagement to be able to do this. one more thing, you talked about the leasing on shore. you said that you are trying to work with the different and cities on trying to get the best possible leases out there. the ranking member had mentioned before in wyoming
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that they are dealing with the frustration of the best possible leases, not the ones not being allowed. it's the one that is far away from the infrastructure. i am interacting with companies that are saying there is a checkerboard of leases, yes they are producing, but they have a lease and they can't get the lease around it. they are not gonna go developed at least until they know that they can lisa rounded. this checkerboard is not being made available to them. they are saying, just drill on what you've got. we are not gonna do long term intensive development there, bring in additional employees, bring in additional supplies, until we know we can actually connect these leases and due door development. that is not being allowed by a team. they have reached out multiple times to the team to say, will you talk to us about these leases being made available? the answers they are getting is zero. they are not getting a response at all on it. the frustration here is, making the right leases available to actually least which is next to
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enter energy which is being developed, where the actual infrastructure is. again, this has the appearance for the future of we don't want more development in the area. we wanted to be more expensive and harder to get to the leases. rather than the less expense leases where we know we have reserves in the infrastructure being made available. >> thank you, thank you so much for bringing that to my attention. i will absolutely make sure that my staff reaches out to you. and reaches out to them. i apologize for that. for that non communication. >> thank you. we all want to be able to get more energy. our prices depend on it at this point, able to get access to that. >> senator cantwell. >> mister chairman, thank. you madam secretary, good to see you. i wanted to get three things covered if i could. first is the fire season. we have gotten from the incident, predictive services wet fiver season will look like. significant fire threat above
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normal for august. sorry, i don't have a larger chart there but you can see obviously my eye goes to washington right away. the central part of our state, which is where we are always concerned. although i'm pretty sure that red area goes all the way over to spoken. i want to ask you about whether predictive's. 73% of the fires that were started in our state were started from lightning strikes. weather and weather predictive issues matter. senator, sullivan and i just introduced a bill to upgrade the noaa weather forecasting capabilities to give us more accurate data. this is helpful not only in cashing services in advance whenever we know that fires are going to be, also protection of our firefighting personnel. we had an incident where probably we would've been listening to forecasting in seattle, we would've sent people out --
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high winds but the forecast are on the ground in the okanagan didn't think the winds were going to be that high. obviously we ended up with fatality that day. what will interior do to work with no end to better integrate forecasting capabilities in the operation in management? >> thank you very much, senator. you're absolutely right, better forecasting hand fire managers in planning and the firefighting efforts on the ground. we work with no all the time. we are, we work with our colleagues across the federal government for issues such as this. i will make sure that we are reaching out to noah specifically on this issue and doing all we can. >> if we need and mou, whatever we call it in the government i hope we do that because it's important. the second map is on drought conditions. again, you would think rainy seattle? what do you talking about?
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the central part of our state, the big agricultural basin, i really start worrying about we when we look at what is going on in ukraine. the wheat production in washington and idaho is quite significant, we were hearing from our wheat growers that -- i mean, we are still in drought conditions. that is why we have fought for funding and technologies to look at awkward for recharge. do you believe that getting this program up and running as soon as possible would be helpful in water source substitutions in the west? >> thank you so much for the question. first, i just want to say that our teen tanya trujillo, our assistant secretary for water in science, her team is in such close contact with every state. folks on the ground with respect to this terrible drought in the west. they work on that every single day. certainly reclamation is
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currently assessing the eligibility process for funding in needs. thank you, every tool in the tool box as what we need to use with respect to this drought. senator heinrich mentioned it's the worst it's been in 1200 years. i just want you to know that we are doing everything that we possibly can. we appreciate you bringing -- >> i think the recharge idea is a great idea. i also think we should get on quickly. the chairman had a meeting, i was unable to attend, on canadian cooperation and issues related to mining. to me, it showcases how canada has been successful at hard-won mining because they have had a royalty system. i do want us to work on critical minerals together. these are essential to key technologies from cobalt, lithium, to photo cells, to
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earth mineral magnets that are used in wind and electric vehicles. we need to focus on making sure the u.s. is competitive incredible mineral markets and find innovative ways and environmentally responsible way to do that, including recycling of these materials. do you think that this royalty issue should be addressed here? can you please describe how the department can support both mineral development on public lands while ensuring it's appropriate places and what you think about the royalty issue? >> thank you senator. very, very, proud to lead the united states geological survey. there is a team of scientists there that work on this issue everything all day. they, understand the presidents leadership with respect to critical minerals and our clean energy technology that we are moving towards. also, the inter agency
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workgroup -- they worked recently i was at their first meeting. working to make recommendations to all of us on how we can be more efficient. the mining law is 150 years old. has not had any changes since then. it is pretty clear that our country has changed and so, i am happy that they have a chance to work on that. we will take all those recommendations to heart. >> did anyone want to make a comment on the royalty issue? >> one of the changes that needs to be changed in the mining law is to provide us with a royalty mechanism. no question. >> thank you mister chairman. >> senator cassidy? >> thank you all. let's imagine someone watching on c-span right now. and they are hearing two sides, if you will, from the chairman
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all the way over speaking about how this administration appears to have a conservative effort to block oil and gas development. you deny it, but the fact that you deny it suggests that you agree that if we had more production it could lower the price at the pump and lower the fuel prices, air conditioning, heating prices, for the folks at home. that mom who is watching on c-span, wondering how she is going to pay for a gasoline, is wondering who believe. i think it is critical. apparently all agree that if we increase production that there might be some positive benefit upon the price that she is paying at the pump and for our fuel bill. let me just put up some actions of this administration. kind of put it out there, if you will. the first week that president biden came in he canceled the
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keystone xl pipeline shipping oil from our closest ally down to the gulf coast to be processed and in environmentally sensitive way. halted all new oil and gas leasing. killed a five-year offshore leasing program. frankly you're administrations populated with people who hate fossil fuel. invalidated golf detail to 57. did not appeal. pressured financial markets into abandoning financing for fossil fuel projects. i can keep going! now, i have ten up there i could probably have 20. so, one i hear we are doing everything possible but -- who am i going to believe? my lying eyes or is this just not making sense to me. mr. kudrow, if you say you couldn't go to lease sales because you had to clean up all of the uncertainty that had been created by the previous administration along the atlantic, along florida, etc we
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are talking about gulf coast leave sales, not the eastern golf, about the central and western gulf. i have a letter here from the governors, inclusive governor alaska, the governors of mississippi, louisiana, alabama, and texas. they want those pleas sales. there is no to clean up there because it employs tens of thousands of americans. so, i'd like to submit this for the record. i assume that it is, even though my chair has stepped out for a second. i see the powers that be or -- yes. the idea that there would be some sort of object down in the gulf coast to elise sale is certainly not held up by these governors. i think that the chairman's point that you have waited to the last possible moment to put in the first page, when normally everything else to be done by the day releasing the first page, it is again telling.
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for the person who is watching, madam secretary, is it more, so, you mentioned climate several times. i know from the administration, the concern is talk. here comes fossil fuel development, here comes lowering the gas, the price of gas, climate's top. that is a priority. we can accept that priority. is it more environmentally friendly to develop and produce oil and gas resources off the coast of louisiana or is it more environmentally friendly to develop those resources, say, and venezuela? or in another country abroad? in terms of emissions, in terms of climate. >> senator, when i can say is that i think here in our country we care deeply about workers. >> that is not my question. my question is, what's has the lowest emissions profile using
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louisiana or american workers in the outer continental shelf off the gulf, with american companies, american regulations, or venezuelan standards and venezuelan crude? >> senator, i am not an economist, engineer, or scientist. with respect -- >> i am almost at a time. i get this sense that this question is not gonna be answered straightforwardly, no offense. there is a national lab which is determined that the emissions profile developing oil and gas at the coast of louisiana is the lowest in the world for that oil with is processed in louisiana. hold up a second, please. yet, these are the countries that we are asking to produce oil and gas as opposed to us with our workers and our lowest standards. now, this is the crazy thing, if you're concerned about climate, you should be producing in louisiana. lastly, mr. bojo, you had mentioned that production is
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now high your, that's not true in the gulf of mexico. and the gulf of mexico relative to when this administration took office, we're down about 300,000 barrels a day in the eia literature from february. that's pretty significant decrease, 300,000 barrels a day. maybe you have something later than what's online, or the iaea, but this administration's all points assault on american oil and gas production. it is hurting the person watching on c-span at home. it's hurting the jobs being created. it's hurting the international environment. with that, i yield. >> chairman, can i address the last -- >> pleased. >> in a matter of statistics we, in calendar year 2020, there
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were 614 about, 615 barrels of oil produced in the gulf of mexico. in calendar year 21, there were 628 million barrels. far from blocking production, we've seen production with onshore and offshore increase on public lands during this administration. >> mr. beaudreau, can i respond to that? this is disingenuous in typical of his conversation. there was a huge decrease when covid hit. your factory in that, the lowest months when covid hit, boom! and production fell over. and now, you're saying the next year we did better. we have an artificial low. if you want to look at monthly month, in january of 2020 there was 1,980,000 barrels of oil produced per month in the gulf. now, at least february, the latest numbers i have is 1,000,615. that takes out that kind of
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covid lull. it just looks at, okay, economy back. what's happening? mine seems like more inaccurate analysis. >> if the hypothesis is that the administration is doing everything it can to block and prevent production, the data doesn't bear that out. >> i disagree with. that i can show my first poster again. we'll have to agree to disagree. >> senator kelly? >> thank you mister chairman. senator cassidy, as an engineer, someone who looked at the data, i can confirm that the amount of carbon that's results from production offshore from louisiana is a lot less than what comes from venezuela. secretary haaland, i want to thank you for today's announcement that the department of produce a draft plans for the offshore oil and gas leasing program. in some parts of arizona, the price of the gallon of gas is now above $5 a gallon. well above the national average. too expensive for hardworking families that have to commute
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to work and take their kids to school, struggled by medicine and groceries. as the chairman, chairman manchin mentioned in his opening remarks the two of us that senator manchin and i read a letter to the president urging him to develop the next five year plan for offshore oil developments in the gulf of mexico. these five-year programs, as you know, madam secretary, are important because they designate which areas are open to development. they send a signal to the market as well and to investors that the federal government has a framework in place for approving future projects. your announcement that you will produce a draft five-year offshore plan next month is helpful. how soon will we get a finalized plan for the department of interior? >> thank you for the question, senator. as i mentioned earlier, we are working expeditiously to move this forward.
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i know my team is, i won't go through all the steps, but we essentially have to start from scratch on this issue. we, there are several other steps besides, after the draft that comes out on june 30th that would be followed by a 90-day public comment period, followed by another final programmatic ei as. that could be adopted 60 days later. we're happy to keep you updated on our progress on this issue. we'll be happy to keep you updated. >> based on the 90 days plus the 60 days, it looks like the earliest would be november 30th. is there any way to accelerate that? >> as i mentioned, we are working expeditiously. >> all right. thank you, madam secretary.
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i want to transition a little bit too drought and water in the west. we are experiencing the worst drought in 1200 years. it has been going on for two decades. the supply of the colorado river water is tightening faster than experts predicted. we have already, in arizona, curtailed about a third of our share voluntarily of the colorado river water. lake powell is so low that the glenn canyon dam is getting close to not being able to generate power anymore. that energy, renewable energy, goes to 5 million people in sick states. the department of interior budget request for drought contingency operations in the basin totals 18 point $7 million. that funding would be used for water conservation and that
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vowing of land to stabilize water levels in lake powell, in lake mead. the president's request for drought contingency operations is simply not enough. 18 point $7 million is not enough money for this. can you work with us to we examine this budget item? >> senator, we are always, always happy to work with you. i do want to, yes, recognize how terrible this drought is. i am from new mexico. you see the fires that are happening because of it. yes, we are always happy, more than happy, to work with you. >> we are on the verge of another horrible fire season as well. and new mexico at the first or second in the worst fire in the states history here that was just burning a couple weeks ago. at the time that fire was burned we have three major fires in the state of arizona. this is related to how dry the
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states, our states, our. we have to solve this water problem. it's not going to solve itself. we just can't help for this drop to end. we need more help from the administration. thank you, madam secretary. >> senator lee? >> thank you mister chairman, secretary haaland, i understand you'll be in utah next week for the signing of the navajo water rights agreement. i want to thank you for your work on that issue and your collaboration on these and many other issues. madam secretary, in january of 2021, shortly after he took office, but where -- he was poisoning this oratory i'm on oil and gas leasing. he informed them that it be contingent upon a report to be produced by your department. the department of the interior. regarding the oil and gas leasing program. now, a couple of things have happened since then. one, the report has been
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produced and released by your department. the other is there has been a court order concluding that the president lacked the authority to issue this moratorium to begin with. your department chose not to appeal that court ruling. let me ask you this, in light of this, does the president want to continue the oil and gas leasing moratorium? >> senator, there is not a moratorium. -- >> okay, there is not one, he does not want to continue one, you are saying. ,,. ,,, number one, i'm sure -- you cut on shortly passing by 80%, at the same time, even
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posed a 50% royalty hike, which will of course be passed on to american consumers in the midst of an energy crisis. and which they're paying $5, soon to be signaller gaps. so, would you advise the president to reinstate the oil and gas leasing moratorium, yes or no? >> no. there wasn't, there is a pause, there was not a moratorium, there isn't a moratorium now. >> okay, there's a pause, there isn't a marjoram, now it seems to me like there is a de facto moratorium. no leasing going on offshore. i'm sure has been restricted by 80% with further discouragement provided by 50% royalty increase, passed on to consumers, who are tired of paying $5, soon to be $6 a gallon gas. we've seen this pattern of attacks on the oil and gas industry. just last week the department canceled three scheduled
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auctions that would've opened up space and alaska cook inlet. and the gulf of mexico for energy production. couple things about this, jay mccarthy, the climate adviser told cbs reporter that an offshore lease sale had been canceled. she did so before the cancellation was even made public. did you authorize mike mccarthy to make that statement, that announcement? >> i don't believe that i spoke with miss mccarthy -- >> so, you did not authorize it? >> just last month, miss mccarthy also told msnbc that president biden remains committed to moving forward with -- you agree with miss mccarthy? that statement, yes or no? >> senator, i am working to lead the apartment of the interior -- >> i got that, do you agree with the statement or not? >> i don't know.
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i didn't speak with miss mccarthy. i don't speak with him about any statements that they may. >> i didn't ask that, i asked whether you agree with it. your answer is i don't know. a perfectly legitimate answer, i suppose, troubling in some ways. >> with respect to the cook inlet lease which was canceled, your department, the department of the interior, decided a quote unquote lack of industry interest in that lease. now, it seems to me that industry interest can't really reasonably be gauge or gauged at all, until the extent or the value of the actual bids are made clear. so, does this mean you're going to force companies to tip their hand, show their cards every time they want to pursue a leasing opportunity? well, i think it's our job to make sure that we are reaching out to companies, we are engaging their interest by speaking with them of if there
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is no interest then it doesn't make sense to move forward. >> the cook inlet lease would be a relatively low producing lease, correct? >> i grew up looking out on cook and let. there is a long history of leases -- least says >> pro producing or high >> leases being delayed or canceled. >> not all in response to my question, relative to others it is a relatively small one. but interestingly enough the department of the interior determined that it's raft-y i.s.. by not offering this even small lease in the cook in that oil prices would rise by about 1%, this is your department concluding this oil price would rise one cent per barrel.
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with how of those leases in the midst of the energy prices. americans are tired of paying $5 a gallon gas, so to be $6 a gallon. many companies are recalibrating the register so they can actually keep up with the charges of $10 or more a gallon gas. the golf leases are much, much, larger. they are huge! did the department conduct an analysis of how much higher oil prices would go as a result of the cancellation of those golf leases? >> madam secretary, yes or no? >> i would be happy to get you the answer, senator. i couldn't tell you at the moment. >> okay, can i ask one more follow-up question. it'll be very brief. in january, federal judge invalidated lease sale to 57
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based on your department, the department of the interior, doing insufficient environmental analysis. you chose not to appeal that decision. none of those leases will be awarded or drilled. look, as i look at this as a longtime appellate lawyer i suspect that, likely, one of two explanations for this. either you are happy with the result, you liked the result, or alternatively the environmental work that you did on this was sloppy. so, which wasn't? >> when i could say about that is our solicitors consult with the department of justice on these issues, they make that determination on whether an appeal should take place. >> we have a department that is determined to not allow oil and gas leaking. they have hiked royalties. they have taken things out of
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eligibility for leasing. this is coming at great expense to the american people who are paying dearly for it. the american people deserve better. >> senator. >> thank you. >> thank you senator. senator hickenlooper. >> thank you mister chair. secretary haaland, i can only imagined the difficulty of someone who has served locally for the state of new mexico, and search for this country in congress to be on the receiving end of such pointed questions you'll. any appointed person knows it is always a difficult balance of how to interpret what the white house or what others are saying. i feel a remarkable empathy for the process going forward. it doesn't want to make me stop about the u.s. geological survey, the 23% which is not enough of an increase! i'm just kidding. i think it is a long overdue increase. i think as we are going through
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this great energy transition i think what's senator lee and so many other people are concerned about, i think there is an urgency on this committee to make sure that we have a balanced approach. as we get to a clean energy economy as quickly as we can, we want to make sure that we don't, you know, balance that on the back of working people who cannot afford to spend $100 or even $80 to fill up their cars. another parallel this is, essential minerals. what we call critical minerals. they are hard to find here. we are heavily reliant on imports, as you know. somehow we need to decrease our reliance on foreign countries and figure out how to improve our domestic supply chain. i saw that the budget request, within the u.s. geological survey, is for supply chain research.
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related to critical minerals. i realize, you are not going to be able to give all the details. mr. goudreau perhaps you can hop in on this but would that look like? how can the department of interior help bolster our domestic critical mineral supply chain? >> thank you for asking. senator, i just first i want to say that i recognize how difficult times are for people. i was a single mom, i understand whatever one is talking about. thank you for letting me say that. so, the bipartisan infrastructure law made a major investment in the u.s. geological survey earth mri program. spending 300 and $20 million over five years. the bipartisan infrastructure law also set a ten year in the struggle for that program, the
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earth mri. we expect to have a map of the majority of areas believed to have some surface critical mineral potential. if during that time or within that time, we will develop than a first generation national mine waste inventory. we are working -- i also mentioned earlier in the inter agency work group that wants to move the efficiency of that forward. i don't know if tommy would like to say anything. >> now, i agree. it is as directed by the president, one of the primary goals of the inter agency working group. move forward on domestic sourcing, including through mining but also through new technology development, as well as recycling -- to source these materials. it is also, you know i know you know this better than anyone, senator hickenlooper, part of
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the challenges being saddled with the 1872 mining law. with renewable energy, we can have a leasing program that the conflicts resource, potential resources from tribal conflicts, wildlife conflicts, etc. we are not able to do that under the 1872 mining law. one of the things we will be working with congress on is to modernize the law. not every century maybe every other century we should take a look at those laws and update them. >> i think you will have some eager participants here. secretary haaland, i would be remiss if i didn't talk about your efforts. i know that there is progress being made, again mr. booed or you can chime in. the expanded leadership in grand junction western headquarter among, we want to make sure -- you are making sure that there is adequate presence in
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washington d.c. balance with that expanded leadership in the grand junction western headquarters. how is the delight going to be able to offer concrete information on not just the number of employees but the leadership employees of the grand junction western [inaudible] as we go forward. >> thank you senator, i know we have talked about this a number of time. i have always been so happy to visit colorado when i have had those opportunities. you know i traveled to grand junction, i had a meeting with the employees there. in person, over the internet. [laughs] because we were still in covid. you probably know that the blm started a employee advisory group. they are working right now to make those recommendations for all of the potential recommendations for the western headquarters. we will absolutely be reviewing
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those recommendations soon and expect to be able to announce those roles possibly the numbers sometime in the near future. if you want to reach out to us, anytime, we are happy to give you an update on where we are on that. i think we are in pretty close contact with your staff and your office. i think your staff is probably tired from your phone calls, but we do appreciate your visits, multiple visits to colorado. we are warmly received from republican, democrat, the willingness to go out to green junction and meet with people in their own town, in their own home, it really spoke volumes. it was time very well spent, we appreciate it. i will yield back to the chair. >> thank you senator. senator hyde-smith. >> thank you mister chairman, thank you for being here today. being the senator from mississippi to want to talk about the gulf of mexico. i'm in very, very, close contact with the producers down there. the companies that are
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concerned about these leases. you know, offshore oil and gas production in the gulf of mexico has proven so many times that it's the cleanest on the planet due to the stringent environmental safety standards that we have to meet down there. it provides 15% of the u.s. production. it is a critical source of reliable and affordable energy. despite these benefits, the leases required are being canceled at a time when our nation is suffering from a record high gasoline crisis. at the same time, president biden claims his administration's policies are not holding back domestic energy production. we have charts of the decline of the gulf of mexico. 5% since january of 2021. my question to you is, madam
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secretary, what does your department have against utilizing this gulf of mexico production for domestic energy? this makes no sense, whatsoever. can you just explain to me what your department has against utilizing this? >> senator, i don't -- i mean, i don't, we are perfectly -- moving forward on all of the work that we have to. we don't prioritize you known, one lease over the other. one area over the other. i'm not exactly sure -- we don't have anything against the gulf of mexico. >> why where the leases to cancel just a week before last? why were those two leases canceled? >> i'm not sure, >> same time the alaskan lease was canceled.
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canceled three, two from the gulf of mexico, one from alaska. wow are the two in the gulf of mexico canceled? >> thank you senator. it was likely because of the conflicting litigation that is happening. is that, i believe that is what you could be talking about. the case of the two gulf lease sales, conflicting litigation made it extremely difficult to move forward. given the legal parameters that we were trying to deal with at the timelines and so forth. >> so are you willing to work to improve this, this decline of 5% since 2021? do you increase the leases in the gulf of mexico? >> i know that we are working hard -- as i mentioned many times even before this committee during my confirmation hearing, we are
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working very hard to balance the use of public lands, knowing that they are public and they belong to every single american. also, we know that we are working hard to with the fossil fuel programs to take climate change into account. i appreciate all of the, the information from you and senator cassidy about the durability and cleanness of the gulf of mexico oil. i am more than happy to make sure that we continue to work with your office moving forward. >> i'm gonna get on to my next question then. the piece that was passed along, we got a hold of that early this morning. christopher got a hold of that. your department inform my staff this morning that it would
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release the draft proposal on june the 30th. i suppose that that should be good news but i'm just interested in whether or not this is an admission that the department will fail to meet the june 30th deadline for the final five-year program? >> considering the fact that we essentially had to start from scratch on this program as we mentioned, the previous administration stopped in 2018 and did not do any more work on it. we picked that up when we got into office. >> i mean, is this and admission that you are not going to meet that final draft deadline of june the 30th. >> yes, the final draft will not be out by june 30th. >> okay, i have one minute. the white house recently stated that the president policy is to
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ban additional leasing. that is from an april 19th statement from the white house press secretary. it is not in line with the presidents policy, which is to ban additional leasing. we've seen the obvious detrimental effect of this misguided policy, having on all american families. does the interior department agree with such a policy? >> senator, what i can say is that i am guided by the law. >> okay -- >> it is clear violation of your departments requirement to prepare and maintain a five-year program for the offshore leasing in development. so you agree with the law, are you saying that you are in compliance with this now? >> we are working on it, given the fact of the conflicting litigation that we had, the fact that the process was stopped by 2018 for three years. we had to pick it back up
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again. >> my time is a, thank you mister chairman. >> thank you, senator king. >> i want to return to the budget. [laughs] which, as i recall -- >> not return, you're the first one! >> started us off. >> yeah, okay 0.1 is, quit deferring maintenance in the national parks. the budget that you propose, i'm happy that you propose it but it's 2.8 billion dollars for 400 billion dollars worth of assets, it's less than 1%. general industry standard is two to 4% of value for maintenance. we went through a lot of effort time and struggle to pass the bipartisan great american outdoors act a big part of which was to tackle deferred maintenance. but stop digging the whole, okay? i hope that what you can do is come back with a revised request or work with us to
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increase the maintenance budget, it is not adequate. 2.8 billion on 400 billion dollars worth of assets is not adequate. it is pretty frustrating for someone who really worked hard on the great american outdoors act to see the missed ration continuing a pattern, i'm not blaming this administration, this goes back 30 40 years! continuing a pattern of under funding maintenance. therefore, we are going to have to do this again at some point in the future! i don't want to do that. let's do our maintenance as we should, right now. >> thank you. >> the second point, national park service staffing there is increases in the budget -- again, they are not adequate. senator daines and i have made a recommendation that there should be 23,000 full-time equivalence based on visitation rights and historical visitation rights. the problem is visitation keep going up and staffing keep staying the same. it's not fair to the visitors, to the park service staff that are being stressed and
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overworked. i had a chart in yellowstone for example staffing is pretty much the same as it won in 2011. attendance has almost doubled! this is true at acadia, yosemite, it's true across the country. that is the second point. i would like to work with you in increasing staffing numbers because, again it is not fair to the visitors and to the staff to put them in that position. i hope you will work with me on that. >> absolutely, yes. we absolutely agree. i have traveled to a number of national parks across the country. it is a similar story in many places. thank you. i mean, i'm happy that people are getting out to our national parks. >> i am too. but we have to maintain them and have them adequately staffed in order to maintain the experience. final point following the leadership of my other colleagues i'm gonna depart from the budget for a minute.
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offshore wind is and enormously potential energy source. virtually all, if not all of the offshore wind proposals that are out there have one thing in common, they are not really offshore wind. there onshore wind, in the water. in other words they go to the ground. the towers go into the seabed. the university of maine have been working for 14 years to develop a proposal for a floating offshore wind capacity which could be a enormous breakthrough, it opens up a much bigger area for potential offshore wind development. they have a proposal in that they have been working with the department of energy on for many years. the department of energy has made a significant investment. this is a technical matter and perhaps we need to talk to your council but, senator collins and i wrote to you about this project. the response was we are working
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on it but we have to issue a request for other proposals because under this statute we have to look for competition. the question is, what is the meaning of the work competition? we believe it's competition for a research array, which is what this project is. not a commercial a researcher ray. we hope that this can be expedited. i believe this is one of the most important energy independence, clean energy projects in the country, or in the world! offshore wind that is on a floating platform would be an enormous breakthrough. i hope that he will go back and talk to the people in the bureau of ocean energy management about expediting this process. following the statute to be sure, but not opening up to a link the competitive project for commercial use. this isn't what this project is. >> i understand, thank you senator. i will absolutely take that message back with.
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>> i just want you to know that senator collins and i are absolutely committed to this project. we want to do the research. maine has the highest percentage of fisheries related income to any state in the country. one of the things that want to know is what is the impact on fisheries? our fishing community is concerned about that. the only way we are going to know this is if we can do the research necessary. again, that is one of the reasons we want to move forward on this. i appreciate your commitment, i'm going to hold you to it. >> yes, we are committed to offshore wind. in fact, we have been working extremely hard and have had some tremendous success in offshore wind projects. moving forward, i was in california and they were also talking about loading wind turbines that they could tell out to the middle of the ocean. i'm happy to see the technology in research moving forward.
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i appreciate your interest in it. i make sure i speak with amanda about this issue. >> thank you, we are ready to do it. we would really like to see an acceleration of the process within the constraints of the statute. thank. you >> senator murkowski. >> thank you mister chairman. madam secretary, i think it's important that i am here as the last member of this committee to ask my questions because so much of what my colleagues have hit on, unfortunately, comes back to my home state of alaska. the front page of the anchorage daily news this morning talks about high fuel cost, the village is paying $15.99 for fuel. their stove oil is now at $16.47. throughout alaska we are about $5 a gallon. this is not just alaska, hours of just more extreme. as you know it has an impact on
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the most vulnerable. unfortunately this headline follows the headline earlier this past week with the announcement of the cancellation of the cook inlet leases. again, if you are concerned about your energy prices and you live -- you are one of the 400,000 people that live in the south central area that rely on natural gas coming out of cook inlet, now we are seeing the articles following about how the producers are going to be able to fulfill the contract for natural gas for people, there, in that region. they are wondering what is going to happen on that front. they know that this news follows what we have seen with the actions of the biden administration with regard to the npr a, basically taking half of npra off line.
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this follows when the n-word leases that we had worked so hard to facilitate were polled this follows the news in regard to the road this and limiting any opportunity for economic development in the southeastern part of the state just yesterday in the anchorage daily news. an article states that the feds are suing the state of alaska over subsistence unprecedented to the federal legislation to the state of alaska. it is cumulative where you have to understand where the average alaskan is looking at the news. they are seeing what is happening and they are saying this makes no sense whatsoever. we can understand if there is an administration that has a keen focus on climate.
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we appreciate the issues related to climate and what we need to be doing to address it. but in the state of alaska people are being driven out of their homes, driven out of their communities, and driven out of the state because of these policies. clearly appeared to shut down energy production and and a resource rich state. i want to ask about the cook inlet leases and about the anwr project. you have sided because a cook in that because of lack of interest from the scoping and the draft eis period. your department told my office that this decision was based off of lack of industry comment during the scoping period which took place in september of 2020,
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when we were in the middle of a pandemic. oil was $40 a barrel, natural gas was $1.92. the commentary that we have received since this announcement from state oil and gas association, research development council, the state of alaska and the most significant producer in the in the is that there they submitted their comments. they submitted their interest. it appears that those were not considered. can you share with me what kind of a reach out the department actually did to determine a level of interest and cook in that? >> thank you for the question, senator. it's my understanding that no specific companies expressed interest in the sale both over 2020 and 2021, when oil prices
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had essentially recovered from the covid impact. while those associations did comment, only specific companies bid on the leases. that is a key indication to the team of the interest in the area. >> again, i think this would follow. i think it's senator lee who might have mentioned the point. if there isn't an opportunity to know whether these are even going to materialize, it makes it difficult to provide for comment. i'm close on time, and now we have votes that have already started. i want to ask you about the ambler road. this is something we had several members of the committee, speaking to the issue of critical minerals. senator cantwell, senator hickenlooper, had raised it. the administration has been very open and embracing the fact that this country needs to
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produce more of its critical minerals. i couldn't agree more. on the same day that the president lays down his executive order on minerals, your department push to reopen the record of decision for the ambler project. this is not a mine, it would provide access to a mining district. shortly thereafter, blm suspends the projects right of way agreement which was granted back in 2021. now this week the courts have granted your departments request to go back and do more analysis. data applied for the antler right away the a-10 analysis spanned two administrations, nearly six decades out there! now, it feels that we are even further behind, we are hearing
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that doi is considering further actions to cancel the right away and to stall out this project. we are in a situation where there is no amount of assurance that i seem to be able to gain to tell alaskans that blm is not dragging their feet on this project. i would like your commitment that will doi stop being a roadblock, ensure this project can move forward. again, this is helping to not only address the nations need for minerals but the president himself has stated that this is a goal of his administration. i need to know that you will work with us, aggressively. you will stick to the timelines that will allow for this important road to continue. and, as the court has indicated
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that they want to require a status report every 60 days, continuing out i need your commitment that you are going to keep us informed with the same briefings at the same intervals. >> senator we are always happy to reach out and be in touch with your office. i know that we are consistently in touch with the staff of your office. we are more than happy to continue that. if you have issues that you want to discuss with us, we are happy to do that. with respect to ambler there were two issues. a subsistence analysis and tribal consultation, those two things needed to be done correctly. that is what we are working on. i appreciate that, we will absolutely be in touch with you on that issue. >> i would ask, also, that you would look very carefully as to the, the activity that can be
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conducted during this limited field season coming up. there are activities that resulted in no disturbance that i would hope the department, the blm would be working with those to help facilitate that. >> thank you senator. senator hirono. >> thank you for your work to uplift all native americans. during your work income grist in now as the secretary to the interior you have worked to appropriately include federal hawaiians in federal policies, regulations, and law. including in the recent report on federal indian boarding schools that shed some light on the abuse inflicted on native children in the attempt to kill native culture, language, and identity. your work demonstrates the importance of honoring the federal government trust responsibility owed to all
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native americans. of course, that includes american indians, alaska natives, and native hawaiians. i hope that you will continue to improve the departments efforts to appropriately include native hawaiians in federal programs. and the departments work in the federal community. in particular i hope it's department and partners will include native hawaiians in its work to address the crisis around missing and murdered indigenous people. honoring missing and murdered indigenous people day this may fifth, the office of wine affairs she and the following information about why. native hawaiian women and girls who represent 67 to 77% of sex trafficking victims identified in recent studies. native hawaiians also represent 37% of reported child sex trafficking cases. these numbers are appalling and unacceptable. i ask you to join me to work
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together to address this urgent problem and to end this abuse against native hawaiians. >> -- >> thank you for your commitment. madam secretary, i appreciate the funding that the administration is requesting in the fiscal year 2023 budget to pay for our obligation under the context of the free association. as you know, should negotiations not conclude before financial assistance provision of a compact expire in 2023 in 2024, that financial assistance will end. thus there is a sense of urgency to completing these negotiations in a timely manner. our committee recently held a hearing to discuss the nomination of ambassador cancer to sue the -- insular and international affairs. could you truck briefly about the importance of confirming ambassador canter in ensuring the negotiations be concluded
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in a timely manner. how else can congress help the departments effort to extend these compacts? >> thank you so much. the president has nominated an excellent candidate. we are doing all we can to support her confirmation process. i also recognize the priority for national security and economic reasons for that is why we need to move this forward. i met with ambassador young, who is working on this issue as well. he is positive that he can move forward with it in an expeditious manner. it is a priority for us, senator. i just want to assure you that we are treating it as such. >> thank you, because it is very clear that these compacts are critical aspects of our national security. those issues come before the armed services committee. but the contact itself and the negotiation come to you and to the state department. there is sort of a bifurcation.
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it's really important for everyone to be working together to make sure that these compacts are negotiated fairly. and that we live up to our obligations to our compact friends. the dialyze announcement earlier this week that over 14 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law are being directed towards saving our native hawaiian forest birds which was welcome news in. order to prevent these species from going extinct we must use controlled the mosquito population that is spreading deadly avian malaria throughout these populations while also trans locating and breeding the remaining few native birds. unfortunately, as so many of these come from -- time is not on our side. can you discuss how that 2023 budget compliments those infrastructure funds to ensure that the department can carry
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out these efforts? also, can you discuss how the various bureaus with the u.s. geological survey, the parks department, are all working together to protect the species? >> thank you senator. yes, you're for us birds are incredibly important to us. we know how important they are to the ecosystem, everything works together. we are very happy to have partners with which to work to create safe havens for the birds. that also means controlling the mosquitoes which control that malaria. we want to establish captive populations which would be buying time, finding new ground for the birds new places for them to thrive. and of course developing the next generation tools to eradicate the mosquitoes. we absolutely appreciate the
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cultural importance of the birds that you have in hawaii and we are working on the ground with folks there who know thelascape and who know the ecosystem so that we can do the best job possible. >> thank you, mister chairman it is wonderful to have a secretary who understands the importance of cultural issues, and environmental protection, which is all part and parcel of making sure we pay appropriate attention to these issues. thank you very much, madam secretary for your commitment. >> thank you. >> thank you senator. now we are going to senator barrasso. >> madam secretary, on this question, do you believe the gas prices are too high? >> senator, i completely understand the crunch that so many americans are under right now. i mean, thinking back up and driving since i was about 18.
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i know that we have had other, i remember back when there were a lines out of gas stations in that kind of thing. i think that americans are still recovering from this terrible pandemic, there are a lot of other world events that are making things difficult for all of us. >> it sounds that you are unwilling to say that gas prices are too high. if you thought they were too high, i thought wonder what your department has done specifically to lessen this terrible pain that americans are suffering under these high gas prices? >> we are doing all we can, senator, as we have mentioned several times today. production on federal lands is up. it is a 45% increase from 2020. a 9% increase from 2019. i'm sorry, that's new drilling -- that is up. the production is also up!
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it's at an all-time high. more than a billion barrels. >> let me switch to the drought that is hitting the west you mentioned it as well for your home state. it's a major issue in the west. on may 3rd the bureau of reclamation announced a 500 acre feet of water would be released from flaming gorge reservoir in wyoming. that is going to lead to a nine foot drop in our reservoirs water level. the drought contingency department in the upper basin states continue to reserve water basin aa power. all states in the west need water. my constituents depend on water for growing crops, raising cattle, they depend on it for tourism. this is the lifeblood of these rural communities in the west. these are big cities. no small communities. these are small communities, just as important, if not more so important, please answer yes or no. in making decisions regarding water in the west. you're from the west, new
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mexico, can you commit today that you will prioritize rural communities. >> we prioritize rural communities in every way possible, senator. and if i could just say very quickly that my team is in constant contact with those folks in rural communities. the tribal government, local government, we know that we have to make the best decisions possible. there just isn't enough water. >> if i may -- >> i don't have the time to do, it thinks mr. bojo, i look forward to seeing that in writing. >> secretary, you in previous testimony you said that clean energy is a priority for president biden. american energy is clean energy. this chart we have is a chart of the world bank data of howling flaring takes place in each country for how much oil is produced.
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that's been a big issue for president biden. as you can see the united states is one of the most we -- responsible in the world. president biden wants to get out of venezuela. let's take a look. the intensity of the flaring that you, the administration, and democrats on this panel hate and say it's bad. 18 times as much done in venezuela as it's done in the united states. the flaring rate in iran is seven times higher than it is in the united states. why is president biden begging, truly begging our enemies for more dirty oil while you limit production of cleaner american oil on public hands at home in america. >> senators, certainly the decisions such have dealing with foreign countries is left to president biden and perhaps the secretary of state. >> i recommend then, if he
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continues to talk about this that you clarify for the president, clarify his understanding. you are the secretary of interior. you have made statements about wanting to produce clean energy. it seems that we would do a much better job here in the united states than any of the rogue nations that president biden seems to be going hat in hand to, begging for energy to help supply our country with energy we already have right here. your department, this president, this administration, will not allow us to get it out of the ground. >> thank you mister chairman. >> thank you senator. >> i'm gonna have to go blow. senator -- mowers on. we have senator hoeven coming up. senator were hirono close at the hearing. then we just say on behalf. thank you, thank you. i know it's been tough. it's a tough one. i think you are feeling the frustration we all have. a lot of the things don't make sense. we do want a cleaner energy we want to clean environment but we have to use but we have to use in the cleanest fashion,
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showing that we can do it better than anybody else. but also that we can walk and chew gum. we can continue to go down to pass. investing in cleaner technologies that we need and making sure what we are producing and using now is clean. we just want security, reliability, we want to have technology and innovation. i want to thank all of you, i appreciate you being here. we've always had a great response. a good relationship, i want to keep that going. with all that, senator hickenlooper hickenlooper you are in charge. >> thank you senator marshall. >> thank you madam chair. i want to thank the chairman of the committee, senator manchin for his leadership. ranking member barrasso, as well. it sounds like they've been talking to my friends and family back in kansas he would certainly agree with everything that they have said so far about this issue. madam secretary, welcome. at a really high level when you are sitting down with your advisers, do you make it -- is it the goal to make it as
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hard as possible to drill new oil wells, new gas leases, on federal lands? if that is not the case, when different policies are presented to you does anyone say, this will make it harder, this will make it easier, for american oils to be drilled on federal land? >> senator, the fact that things are harder or easier never enters a conversation. we are working hard to make sure that we have a balanced approach to our energy -- >> so you are telling me when you are having these discussions it doesn't tell you if that's gonna make it harder or easier for access to new leases? >> no. >> is it your goal, is it your hope that there is more or less drilling on federal lands while you are the secretary of the interior? >> my goal, as i mentioned, is
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to have a balanced approach to our public lands. to make sure we are doing the best job possible for the american people, considering that the public lands belong to them. >> does the affordability of energy, the cost of gas at the gas pump, cost of utility ever figure in your decision-making process? >> senator, i know exactly what it's like to be poor, quite frankly -- >> so to why. i do too. but does it ever enter into your policy making? >> i bring my whole self to the job. >> you are secretary mentioned panic a little bit ago. let me tell you wet panic is. panic is $5 a gallon gasoline when you are single mom with two children in your pregnant and you don't have the gas money to get your ob appointment. they call me, i say i can't make it today can they just visit over the phone. panic is with my son to children of the age of 15 months say, dad, my utility bill doubled this past month.
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is there a problem out there? that's with the panic is. i'm not sure with the panic was you heard, we didn't hear it in kansas. i think you're left liberal media was digging a panic. most of the country was not panic then. this is panic. today's panic. that is what is going on across this nation. i want to share with you what is creating the high price of oil right now. okay? i hope that he realized that it takes a year or two for an investment to turn into oil which is going to actually go to the refinery. whenever there is uncertainty, folks are not going to invest in a business if i was gonna write a book on business, the first chapter would be about uncertainty the federal government specializes in uncertainty. you were doing it with your policies. you offer elise, you pull it back. you offer these checkerboard leases -- it looks to me that you are
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perfectly picking and choosing and making a very hard for which leases you are going to offer. when these companies spent tens of thousands of dollars in then you pulled away from them. the next uncertainty, can we can we get a permit to drill. and if we get a permit, can we get a permit to get our pipelines out of there? all of that adds to uncertainty and that is what is driving up the price. the price of oil is reflective on what is happening a year from now, not yesterday. that is why we have a decreased supply in these companies are ready to go forward. your policies are creating uncertainty. do you understand how your policy are creating uncertainty for american businesses? >> senator thank you very much for letting us know the frustration you are feeling and that your constituents are feeling. we understand. i just want to assure you that, i am absolutely following the law. >> >> you don't care about the
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uncertainty and the cost of continuing to dry things up. i'm going to turn to lesser period chicken immediately. we talked about this before and the department is considering listing the letter prairie chicken. i would tell you in my estimation that it's never been better protected before, thanks to great help between the government as well as the private sector. what do you think the financial impact will be on the cost of utilities in kansas if you lift the prairie chicken? >> senator, but i can say is that we always follow the science and the law on any lifting questions. we recognize -- and i just want to say that we really recognize the value of the voluntary efforts to this conservation effort and appreciate that we -- >> but would you agree with me that listing in the prairie chicken would drive up the cost of utilities in kansas? >> senator, as i mentioned before, i am not an economist.
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so i couldn't answer truthfully a question like that. >> thank you. >> i yield back. >> thank you. senator hoeven. >> madam secretary, thank you for joining us today. this administration, when it came into office, put a moratorium on leasing on all federal lands, both onshore and offshore. now, in april, the administration said that it would resume leasing, but that would only be on 20% of the available acreage, only 20% of the available acreage. and at the same time, you increased the royalty fees for production by 50%. right now, the price of gasoline, average, in the country is over $4.50 a gallon. diesel is another dollar and higher. there is not a single state in the country where the price of a gallon of gas is less than $4
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and some of the forecasts are that that price will go as high as $6 across the country this summer. think of the impact that has on everybody. and it hits low income people of the hardest. and that energy cost isn't just a cost they pay at the pump, that energy cost isn't every single product that they buy, every day. so, my question is, why are you not allowing more leasing on federal lands to help? >> senator, thank you so much for the question, and of course, i've talked a few times during this hearing about how much i understand what the majority of americans are going through. so thank you for that. we just want to say that we are working toward a balance on our
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public lands. the reforms that we implemented with the last 80% that you referred to was the fact that during climate change, of course, that interest the picture. we don't want the seeing in fragile ecosystems and so forth but leasing can take place near places where infrastructure already exists and where there is a potential to find oil, and you might know, a lot of leases currently don't really have the potential to produce. so we worked very hard to make sure that we were offering the lands that we felt would be of the most used to the industry. >> where is the balance when you're not allowing any drilling offshore, and where onshore it's only 20% that you are even allowing before we even talk about your regulation
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is holding up the ability to get permits even on that list that you've awarded? how is that balance at a time when this country desperately needs the energy? >> senator, if i could just say that there is more than 20.6 million acres of federal land that oil companies have on which to request permits. we've approved more than 4700 drilling permits since president biden came into office, 1100 in this year alone. >> in many cases, though, where they have those leases, either, a, you haven't approved the permit and then in cases where you have, they are being held up in court, which is why you need to continue to make this is available and permit them so that they can drill them. the protection is going down. you understand that, right? in my state alone we were at 1.5 million barrels a day, we are now down below 1.1 million
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barrels a day, and on the bio i'm, and on to be blm a land lease sale that you are not, there's only 600 acres available in north dakota. doesn't that disenfranchised us in north dakota and continue to put people of this country under strain at the pump because they can't get oil and gas and are restrained from all the other products that they buy? and how is that remotely balanced? and how could you continue to say that these leases are available when they're not, for the reasons that i just articulated? >> senator, i realize that our country is going through a euro right now where we are barely coming out of the covid pandemic. there are -- there's tomorrow around the world. we are doing our best to move these issues forward in our department --
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>> excuse me, madam secretary. are you willing to make some of the -- are you willing to change what you are doing and make some of these leases available? >> senator, i am more than happy to -- as i said, follow the law, to do the work that we need to do, and have been doing it a. want to assure you we have been doing this work. >> the law provides that there is to be energy development and leasing on federal lands on shore and offshore. that's what the law provides. will he make those leases available at the time when our come tree badly needs it? >> senator, we have -- we will continue to do our work, just like we have since we came into this office. >> which means you are not making leases available? >> senator, with respect, to specific leases, i'm happy to have my staff reach out to you if that is what you would like the answer to. >> i would just submit to you,
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madam secretary, that it's a very important at this time that we produce more energy in this country. it's very -- this inflation, the price of fuel, all these are impacting americans in a very harsh way. and i would ask that you consider that going forward so that we can produce more energy here domestically, rather than trying to get it -- i mean, the administration has gone to places like venezuela to try to get it. that makes no sense. we need to do it here at home and we need your help to do that on the federal that's. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, senator hoeven. before i close this hearing, i would like to say that blaming the biden administration for high oil prices ignores the fact that oil prices are set in the world market. there's put in, there is ukraine, if there is covid. doing this committee's hearing on energy security and march, we discussed that 9000 leases on public lands. the 9000 leases that are being unused by oil and gas companies, and the pressure that companies
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feel from wall street to focus on stock buybacks rather than investigate more production. that that sink in for a while. the situation has not changed since march in. the first year of the biden administration companies produced more oil from federal lands onshore and offshore than in any year in history. and the fact is, as noted by madam secretary, oil and gas companies have more than 20.6 million acres of federal lands under these on which they are not producing oil and gas. again, let's talk about their focus on stock buybacks rather than investing in more production. so let's be clear. putin has a lot to do with the gas price hike, and it is hurting families all across the country and across the world and while putin is to blame, i
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would say, for the drastic like, we have been dealing with the volatility of all prices for a long time. and as long as we are reliant on oil, we will be subject to the opec oil cartels and affiliated for truth producers like russia. record oil prices in 2008 solidified hawaii's commitment toward renewable power in and away from burning oil. hawaii got it. we were the most oil import dependent state in the entire country. so hawaii figured it out. we need to make a change so the state is now getting over 38% of its power from renewable sources with the goal of 100% renewable power by 2045. so as we debate impacts on oil and gas sly supplies of russia's invasion, we also need to keep our eyes on making our country much more energy self sufficient in the long term.
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that's where hawaii is going and that's where out the rest of the country should pay attention to. so madam secretary, thank you very much. deputy secretary module, and ms. fanone can, for coming before this committee. members will have until close of business tomorrow to submit additional questions for the record. the committee stands adjourned.
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