Energy & Environment

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

Bonnie Cash

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Biden’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. “

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 Daines (R-Mont.) saying he’ll attempt to block her confirmation

She also has some bipartisan support, however, with GOP Alaska Rep. Don Young 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. 

Tags Biden cabinet Biden nominees Deb Haaland Don Young Interior Department Joe Biden Steve Daines

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