Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Wednesday the decision by OPEC Plus (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day is all the more reason for the U.S. to be energy independent.

It will also mean higher gas prices.

“Today’s announcement from OPEC+ confirms why the United States must be energy independent and energy secure so we cannot be intimidated by foreign adversaries,” Manchin, who is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement after the OPEC+ decision.

The U.S. has the resources, he said, but energy production is being hampered by excessive federal permitting regulations.

“We have been blessed with an abundance of domestic energy resources, which we can produce cleaner than elsewhere in the world, and with that we have the ability to ensure energy independence and security for ourselves and our allies,” he said. “This announcement should serve to further motivate my colleagues in Congress to come to the table to pass comprehensive, bipartisan permitting reform to lessen our dependence on these foreign nations.”

Manchin had included permitting reform in a continuing resolution (CR) to fully fund the federal government after Sept. 30. He withdrew the reform proposal after it became clear not enough Republicans would support it.

The CR did pass after he took out his permitting proposal, which would have streamlined the process of obtaining federal permits for energy projects, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

The MVP, which is more than 90 percent complete but long delayed by litigation involving federal permits, would move natural gas from North Central West Virginia to Chatham, Va.

Both Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., have been trying to find a path to speed up the process and get the pipeline on line.

At an OPEC meeting Wednesday, the coalition agreed to cut production.

According to the Washington Post, the cut is a “rebuke to President Biden that could push up gas prices worldwide, worsen the risk of a global recession and bolster Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

“The President is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC Plus to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement.

The Washington Post article said the OPEC Plus coalition, which is led by crude-oil giant Saudi Arabia, said the cut in production would take effect in November.

This would be the first time the group cut oil production targets since the beginning of the pandemic.

Crude oil prices had reached almost $120 million a barrel earlier this year before falling to about $85, mainly because of a drop in demand and fears of a recession.

Officials think the OPEC+ production cut may send prices per barrel closer to $100.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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