Republicans Grill Interior Nominee Over Potential Energy Job Losses

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior Secretary, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland sought to downplay her previous statements against fracking and drilling, while also reiterating that the Biden administration is committed to shifting toward clean energy.

President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Interior promised lawmakers on Tuesday that she would strive to “strike the right balance” on land conservation and energy development—acknowledging that while the administration will prioritize clean energy, a transition away from fossil fuels will not happen overnight.

During a Senate confirmation hearing, U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland faced tough questions about her opposition to drilling and fracking on federal lands from Republicans worried about the loss of energy sector jobs in their states. The Biden administration ordered a temporary pause on new oil and gas leases on federal land last month, and Republican members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee pressed Haaland on whether she would support making the ban permanent.  

Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the committee, cited estimates that a long-term ban on the lease of federal lands for oil and gas production would lead to 62,000 job losses in Haaland’s home state of New Mexico and 33,000 job losses in his home state of Wyoming.

“Why not just let these workers keep their jobs?” Barrasso said. “If confirmed, would you tell the president it’s unwise to continue the pause as a permanent ban?”

Haaland reiterated that Biden’s pause of the program was not permanent.  

“There are still thousands of leases and permits that are moving forward,” she said.

The hearing came as 17 Republican governors wrote to Biden on Monday to ask him to reconsider the temporary ban, saying that consumer demand requires energy be produced on both private land and public land.

If confirmed, Haaland would oversee a sprawling agency, with a $21 billion budget and more than 70,000 employees, that manages public lands and national parks and administers programs related to Native Americans. 

As a member of the Laguna Pueblo Nation, Haaland’s nomination is historic and her confirmation would make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. Republicans have described Haaland—a supporter of the Green New Deal—as too radical for the post. But she’s garnered support from progressive groups as well as Native Americans who believe she will be able to improve the federal government’s relationship with tribal governments and to protect public lands and address climate change. 

It remained unclear Tuesday whether Haaland would earn the support of Sen. Joe Manchin, the Democratic committee chairman. Manchin, whose home state of West Virginia has relied heavily on the coal industry, asked Haaland whether the U.S. needs to be able to maintain its energy independence.

“I know we want to move forward with clean energy and to get to net zero,” Haaland said. “That’s not going to happen overnight. So, we will absolutely rely on fossil energy. But at the same time, I think we can move forward with technology and innovation.”

Sen. Steve Daines, of Montana, also asked Haaland about the impact of Biden administration policies on local economies, saying 60 people in Fallon County, Montana had lost jobs related to construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the U.S. Biden revoked a key permit for the project shortly after taking office.

"What do I tell these 60 families that just lost their jobs?" Daines said.

Haaland, who mentioned her background during her testimony as a single mother who had lived paycheck to paycheck and relied on food stamps, cited her past financial struggles.

“I understand what that is like. I have struggled myself as well and been without a job at various times in my life,” Haaland said. “I will work my heart out for every American. If we can move President Biden’s agenda forward together we can create those millions of jobs.”

She also cited Biden’s plan to create a Civilian Climate Corps as one way to spur green energy and conservation-related job growth.

Haaland’s nomination hearing is expected to resume Wednesday morning.

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

FEATURED CASE STUDIES
Powered By The Atlas
New Parking Plaza Adds Capacity & Embraces Sustainability at San Diego Airport
San Diego, CA, USA
Strategic Energy Plan & Energy Efficiency Projects Help Manage San Diego Airport Energy Resources
San Diego, CA, USA
Integrating Complete and Green Streets for Climate-Resilient Sustainable Streets
San Mateo County, CA, USA

NEXT STORY: Smallest Businesses Will Get Special Window to Apply for Federal Relief Funds

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.