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Manchin to head energy subcommittee

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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will chair the U.S Senate subcommittee that oversees national mining policy, mining education and research, public lands and wildlife refuges.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., offered Manchin the opportunity to chair the Senate Energy Committee's Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining, and Manchin said he is honored to serve.

"It is an honor and a privilege to chair the Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests and Mining since it oversees so many issues that West Virginians care about the most, especially when it comes to mining policies and public lands," Manchin said in a statement.

Manchin noted both Wyden and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee have both visited West Virginia "and are committed to working toward an all-of-the-above energy approach that leads to energy independence," he said.

"Sen. Manchin has a deep well of experience on public lands and mining policy, which is why I am so glad he agreed to chair this subcommittee," Wyden said in a statement. "He has a real desire to find bipartisan solutions to some of the most important issues facing our committee and I look forward to working with him this Congress to reach those answers."

Manchin has been vocal in his opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency, especially as it relates to coal. As governor of West Virginia, Manchin filed a lawsuit against the EPA. The lawsuit alleges the EPA overstepped its authority when it revoked a mine permit in 2010. The lawsuit asked the U.S District Court of Southern West Virginia to throw out the EPA's guidelines for issuing permits for coal mines under the Clean Water Act.

The case eventually made its way to the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia, which ruled last year in favor of West Virginia.

The subcommittee has jurisdiction, oversight and legislative responsibility over national mining laws and mineral policy; general mining laws; surface mining, reclamation and enforcement; mining education and research; federal mineral leasing; public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service; and establishment of wildlife refuges on public lands and wilderness designations.

Manchin's appointment to the committee is effective immediately.