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Manchin pushes natural gas in letter to Biden 

Manchin pushes natural gas in letter to Biden 
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Israel-Hamas carnage worsens; Dems face SALT dilemma MORE (D-W.Va.) stressed the importance of natural gas production in a new letter to President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE

In a letter on Thursday, Manchin urged the president to consider the importance of fossil fuel as the Biden administration reviews its fossil fuel leasing and permitting practices. 

The most moderate Senate Democrat mentioned jobs, energy security and uses of gas in products like plastics and chemicals. 

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“I encourage you to bear in mind the many benefits of responsible domestic natural gas production as you consider any future executive or administrative action, and I look forward to working with you to achieve our shared goals of energy security, economic growth, and global emissions reductions,” Manchin wrote. 

Biden last month instituted a temporary pause on new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters while his administration reviews its permitting practices. 

He previously said on the campaign trail that he would ban new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters, but has not yet carried out a ban. The ban wouldn't impact existing permits or leases and also wouldn't prevent oil or gas drilling on privately owned land. 

The correspondence marks Manchin’s second letter to Biden on fossil fuels this week. On Tuesday he wrote to the president urging him to reverse course on the decision to revoke a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. 

Manchin will be a key Democrat on energy issues in Congress, as he’s now the chairman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee. As the most moderate Democrat, he also could be a crucial swing vote in the 50-50 Senate.