On July 11 during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to discuss U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and its role in the global marketplace, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, raised concerns over the proposed $83 billion Chinese investment in West Virginia.
“Do you all know about this deal they want to make with West Virginia, my state? They’ve said they’re going to invest $83 billion over 20 years. You can imagine that kind of carrot being swung out there, it’s tremendous for a small state. Our budget is only $4 billion a year and they’re going to invest $83 billion. What would be their interest? We cannot find out one iota of what the MoU is. I have asked them directly and cannot get a direct answer about their investments,” Manchin said.
“My gut tells me they want the LNG, they want the propane, ethane and butane which we do not have CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) review on. It could take away our building stock for manufacturing. And I can’t believe that this administration would allow in any way, shape or form, for this project to go on.
“There’s another type of problem with American Ethane. American Ethane is by run a Russian oligarch. What they’re doing here in America to take out our building stock… I don’t know why we haven’t stepped up and slapped a stop and desist order on this.”
Manchin raised concerns about the geopolitical risk associated with China and Russia’s energy development and questioned witnesses about the threat they pose.
“Energy can be a tool for democracy, but it can also be a weapon. Russia has for years relied on their energy resources to exert influence and exact concessions. This is because Central and Eastern Europe are reliant on Russia for approximately 75% of their gas import needs. Russia then uses this reliance for political coercion and influence,” Manchin said.
Manchin also questioned Dr. Melanie Hart, senior fellow and director of the China Program at Center for American Progress, about the discrepancy between access given to American natural gas development in China and China’s natural gas development in the United States.
“Are we as Americans allowed to go into China and buy their resources, develop their resources and control the flow of their resources back to the U.S.?” he asked.
“We are certainly not allowed to do so in China. In fact, China’s information about their shale gas resources is classified. So our companies are also not even allowed to fully assess what they have in the ground to understand how they might weigh in as a potential exporter over time,” said Dr. Hart.
The hearing also featured testimony from representatives from the Department of Energy, Center for LNG, Sempra Energy and Center for Strategic & International Studies. To read their testimonies, visit https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=02393987-3534-425F-91B0-EE39CE30061F
To watch the hearing in full visit https://www.facebook.com/SenateEnergyDemocrats/videos/1789479314531645/