Susan Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (R-Maine) on Wednesday became the first Republican senator to say she will vote to confirm 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.

“After examining Representative Deb Haaland’s qualifications, reviewing her hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and meeting with her personally, I will vote to confirm her to be the Secretary of the Department of the Interior,” Collins said in a statement.

She cited Haaland’s work on a bipartisan conservation bill that passed last year as one reason for her support. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“While we certainly have different views on some issues, her role in helping to shepherd the Great American Outdoors Act through the House will be beneficial to the Department’s implementation of this landmark conservation law, which I cosponsored. I also appreciate Representative Haaland’s willingness to support issues important to the State of Maine, such as Acadia National Park, as well as her deep knowledge of tribal issues,” the senator said.

Her statement came amid questions about whether Haaland, whose opponents have sought to paint her as radical, would have any bipartisan support.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal MORE (D-W.Va.), the most moderate Senate Democrat, has already said that he would back the nomination, making it appear that she would have enough support from her own party to secure the confirmation.

There still could be a bit of a battle over the nomination, 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's (R-Mont.) office recently saying in a statement that it would seek to “block and defeat” her nomination.

The Montana senator can delay her confirmation by putting a hold on the nomination, but as long as she has a simple majority, her nomination would overcome that procedural hurdle. 

ADVERTISEMENT

If confirmed, Haaland will be the first Native American Cabinet secretary, and she'll oversee a department with significant responsibilities to the country's federally recognized tribes.

During her confirmation hearing last week, Haaland said that her priorities will include appreciating career employees, promoting clean energy and clean energy jobs and working on broadband internet in Indian Country and dealing with missing and murdered indigenous women.

Haaland also acknowledged that fossil fuels “will continue to play a major role in America for years to come” and that this needs to be balanced with combating climate change. 

Updated at 9:17 a.m.