Interior nominee Haaland vows 'balance' on energy, climate

26 Février, 2021, 14:18 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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"It is President Biden's agenda, not my own agenda that I would be moving forward", she said at the contentious confirmation hearing that reflected deep divisions over some of Biden's climate-focused executive orders. She told Hoeven she also would "listen to you and consult with you".

"Being a secretary is far different from being a member of Congress", she said.

Manchin's support was seen as key for Haaland's confirmation in what is expected to be a close vote.

Haaland's nomination has stirred strong opposition from some Republicans who say her "radical ideas" don't fit in with a rural way of life, particularly in the West.

"I understand how important your state is to you", Haaland said, committing to work with Murkowski, Alaska Native corporations and Alaska Natives on the issue. Manchin's support for Haaland likely secures her confirmation as the first Native American to hold a Cabinet position.

The department Ms. Haaland has been picked to run manages 480 million surface acres, almost 20% of the US land area, and 700 million subsurface minerals, holdings that generate $12 billion annually for the federal treasury and support 1.8 million jobs. Her nomination is supported by tribes around the nation, including the Crow Tribe in Montana. When asked about prior statements she's made about environmental issues - such as saying she supports bans on fracking and animal trapping - she said that her role as a Congresswoman is different than the one she is poised to take. "She will work for us".

Asked why she wanted to become the next secretary of the Department of the Interior, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., referenced the Navajo Code Talkers, saying the first piece of code the WWII soldiers used was the Navajo word for "Our mother" for United States. She worked on former President Barack Obama's campaign in the state in 2012 and later chaired the state's Democratic Party, where she was credited with fixing its finances and rebuilding it after electoral losses.

While Biden imposed a moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands - which doesn't apply to tribal lands - he has repeatedly said he does not oppose fracking.

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Democratic Montana Rep. Tyson Running Wolf, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, called the Republican opposition a "political ploy" familiar to Native Americans who have entered politics, where there exists a "preconceived notion from others that you're 25-30 percent dumber".

Haaland said she went there in solidarity with Native American tribes and other "water protectors" who "felt they were not consulted in the best way" before the multi-state oil pipeline was approved. "I'm just concerned about receiving this nomination", he said. She also represents a fossil fuel-rich state, which is aiming to make a similar transition to cleaner energy sources.

At other times, Haaland recited generalities.

"While we do not agree on every issue, (Haaland) reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, addressing the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation's energy independence", Manchin said in a statement. Daines previously signaled he intends to block Haaland's nomination.

Biden has promised to move the country away from climate-warming fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy, "but that isn't going to happen overnight", Haaland said.

Haaland pledged to lead the Interior Department with honor and integrity and said she will be "a fierce advocate for our public lands". And Native American groups have said the vehemence of the senator's complaints against Halaand, a current House member and daughter of a Marine veteran, rings in their ears as the type of prejudice they've experienced for decades in American politics.

Haaland "is going to shift a worldview on how we'll be managing water, land and natural resources in the future", Bernal said. "Change is disconcerting to some folks". Trump emphasized oil, gas and coal production on federal lands over the fight against climate change. "Deb Haaland is pretending to be someone else during these hearings and it's clear some of the Senators aren't convinced". "I think as a country we should see that moment as some redeeming moment".

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