Deb Haaland Would Be A Disaster As Interior Secretary

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interior dept hqThis week, President Biden’s nominee for secretary of the Interior, New Mexico congresswoman Deb Haaland, is up for confirmation in the Senate.

Haaland, a self-described “progressive,” and a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, would, if confirmed, become the first Native American to head Interior.

The Department manages approximately 500 million acres of surface land, or about one-fifth of the land in the United States. The agency’s work is of interest to all Americans because it oversees more than 400 National Parks, from Yellowstone to White Sands.

However, the department is of particular importance to Westerners, as more than 90 percent of the lands it manages are located in the Western United States.

The nomination of Haaland makes a certain amount of political sense for President Biden, allowing him to place a Native American in a position of leadership over Interior’s vast network of Native reservations.

These reservations, including the Navajo Reservation in Northwest New Mexico, remain among the deepest pockets of poverty in the country. The fact that no Native American has ever managed those reservations is indeed worth remedying.

But Interior is a large department with many lands of varying purposes, and Western resource-intensive states including New Mexico have already seen the Biden administration act in ways that will do significant harm to their economies.

At Interior, Deb Haaland would be a cheerleader for Biden’s early anti-energy policies and would likely look for opportunities to expand upon them. She has taken radically anti-fossil-fuel positions throughout her political career.

In 2016, prior to being elected to Congress, Haaland traveled to North Dakota to cook food for the protesters demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline. She stayed in the camps for four days that September.

In May 2019, the newly minted congresswoman told The Guardian, “I am wholeheartedly against fracking and drilling on public land.”

Are Haaland’s positions and opinions based on sound science and history? In a 2019 Los Alamos Monitor story, Haaland claimed that “climate change in the U.S. started when Europeans arrived and started killing the buffalo.”

Considering the numerous, dramatic changes that were a feature of the climate in prehistoric North America (and everywhere else on this planet), Haaland’s understanding of environmental forces is a bit off.

Given her radical views, it is not surprising that Haaland has been a strong supporter of the Green New Deal. The ambitious plan put forth by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and others would cost trillions in subsidies and lost economic activity.

Among the plan’s radical proposals is a mandated shift to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and an increase in the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent.

On day one, the Biden administration pulled the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. While this pipeline won’t directly affect energy-producing states, the cavalier approach to the permit raised red flags.

Shortly thereafter, the Biden administration placed a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands. If confirmed, Haaland would be a staunch defender of such policies.

Haaland’s home state, New Mexico, is particularly impacted by what happens at Interior. The state has the third-highest Native American population in the U.S. and also happens to be the state most financially dependent on energy produced on federally managed lands within its borders.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, a ban on federal oil and gas leases could cost New Mexico 62,000 jobs, reduce state revenues by $1.1 billion, and reduce oil and gas production within the state by nearly 50 percent. […]

Senator Steve Daines (R., Mont.) has announced his opposition to Haaland’s nomination. Montana’s junior senator signaled he would not only vote against her confirmation but also attempt to block her nomination from advancing.

“I’m deeply concerned with the Congresswoman’s support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs, and rural America, including her support for the Green New Deal and President Biden’s oil and gas moratorium, as well as her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline,” Daines said in a statement.

Is that enough to stop Haaland from taking her radical policies to the Department of the Interior? We should all hope so.

Read rest at National Review

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