Interior nominee Deb Haaland vows 'balance' on energy and climate

Interior nominee Deb Haaland vows 'balance' on energy and climate

Interior nominee Deb Haaland vows 'balance' on energy and climate

Deb Haaland concluded her Interior secretary confirmation hearing today, seemingly on her way to making history despite significant Republican opposition.

On the first day of her confirmation hearings, the New Mexico Democrat told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that she understood the need for oil and gas production and that the moratorium on new exploration permits was just to allow for a review of federal policy.

"If an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as secretary of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone", Haaland said in her opening statement. It's hard to not feel obligated to protect this land.

Mr. Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon, pointed out that he and two other of the GOP committee members are medical doctors and asked Ms. Haaland: "Do you think that as medical doctors we don't believe in science?" She faced tough - and, at times, misguided - questioning from Republican lawmakers anxious about the president's climate goals. The Laguna Pueblo member and two-term congresswoman often draws on her experience as a single mother and the teachings of her ancestors as a reminder that action the USA takes on climate change, the environment and sacred sites will affect generations to come.

He also targeted a tweet from past year which Haaland said during the debate between then-Vice President Mike Pence and Kamala Harris that Republicans don't believe in science.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has argued that it consulted more than 250 times with tribal and historic preservation authorities. He also previously represented the same 1st Congressional District seat that Halland now holds. She said Interior has an "outsized" influence over Alaska, 60% of which is owned by the federal government.

"Whereas we don't agree on each situation, (Haaland) reaffirmed her sturdy dedication to bipartisanship, addressing the various wants of our nation and sustaining our nation's vitality independence", Manchin stated in a press release.

Heinrich also said that Haaland "understands that confronting the climate crisis, not denying it, and transforming our economy will not come without costs and tradeoffs". Biden, who says the country needs to transition away from burning fossil fuels to mitigate climate change, has paused new drilling leases on public lands and waters - a sharp departure from the Trump administration, which worked to expand drilling. Daines previously signaled he intends to block Haaland's nomination. Haaland has promised to improve that relationship and restore tribal consultation on development and projects that would affect tribal land.

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During the second set of questions, some senators returned to topics they had previously pressed Haaland on, such as Republican Sen. "Those are two different things, I recognize that", Haaland said. "The reason I did that is because I agreed with the tribe that they felt they weren't consulted in the best way". John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who said Haaland's stated beliefs about policies are "squarely at odds" with the mission of the Interior Department.

The panel's closely watched chair, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chairman of the committee. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has not said how he will vote on Haaland's nomination, which Democrats generally support.

"But I also take the Senate's constitutional obligation to advise and consent to the President's nomination seriously", he said.

Jim Risch of Idaho insisted, for instance, on knowing whether she, personally, supported closing down the Keystone XL pipeline.

But Alaska is also a state that heavily relies on revenue from extractive industries.

Many Native Americans have rallied behind Haaland and spoke about what they consider a double-standard over her nomination compared to other nominees.

Before becoming a U.S. Representative, Haaland had unsuccessfully run for Lieutenant Governor on the ticket with Gary King in 2014.

Haaland has been a rising star among progressives since her election to Congress in 2018 She grew up in poverty and her official disclosures show she is still paying off the loans from the University of New Mexico law degree she earned in 2006.

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