Haaland: Fossil fuels will 'play a major role,' but climate must be addressed

Haaland: Fossil fuels will 'play a major role,' but climate must be addressed
© Bonnie Cash

Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandSecretary Haaland, Colorado's epic drought highlights the need to end fossil fuel extraction Why Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas We have a moral obligation to learn Native American history MORE (D-N.M.), President BidenJoe BidenBiden authorizes up to 0M for Afghan refugees Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe MORE's nominee to lead the Interior Department, is expected to testify at her confirmation hearing Tuesday that fossil fuels will continue to “play a major role” in the U.S. but that the country must work harder to address climate change. 

“There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come. I know how important oil and gas revenues are to fund critical services,” an advance copy of Haaland's prepared statement to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee says. 

“But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed,” Haaland plans to add. “Together we can work to position our nation and all of its people for success in the future, and I am committed to working cooperatively with all stakeholders, and all of Congress, to strike the right balance going forward. “

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Her planned testimony says that this balance will include “harnessing the clean energy potential of  our public lands to create jobs and new economic opportunities.”

It also acknowledges that her nomination is historic, as she would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary, and she’ll be leading a department that has significant responsibilities to the country’s 574 federally recognized tribes.

“The historic nature of my confirmation is not lost on me, but I will say that it is not about me,” she wrote. “Rather, I hope this nomination would be an inspiration for Americans — moving forward together as one nation and creating opportunities for all of us.”

Haaland, who has expressed support for the Green New Deal and opposition to fracking, is a favorite among progressives. 

However, even before the hearing, her nomination is facing some Republican pushback, with Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesSenate committee advances bipartisan energy infrastructure bill  Hillicon Valley: Lina Khan faces major FTC test | Amazon calls for her recusal | Warren taps commodities watchdog to probe Google Senators propose bill to help private sector defend against hackers MORE (R-Mont.) saying he’ll attempt to block her confirmation

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She also has some bipartisan support, however, with GOP Alaska Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps Overnight Energy: Biden admin backs Trump approval of major Alaska drilling project | Senate Republicans pitch 8 billion for infrastructure | EPA to revise Trump rule limiting state authority to block pipelines Biden signs bill to help Alaska cruise industry MORE slated to introduce her. 

Biden has said he does not support an all-out ban on fracking and has sought to distance himself from the Green New Deal. 

On the campaign trail, he did say he supported banning new oil and gas permits on public lands, and he has temporarily paused new leases on federal land.