Barrasso: Rep. Haaland’s Extreme Policy Views & Lack of Substantive Answers Disqualify Her to Lead Interior

March 4, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a business meeting to consider the nomination of the Honorable Debra Haaland to be the secretary of the interior and to approve subcommittee assignments for the 117th Congress. Barrasso voted to oppose Haaland’s nomination.  

To watch the full business meeting, click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“First, I do want to join you in congratulating the new chairs and ranking members of the subcommittees – Senators Hirono and Hoeven who will lead the Energy Subcommittee; Senators King and Daines who will lead the National Parks Subcommittee; Senators Cortez Masto and Lee – the Public Lands, Forests, and Mining Subcommittee; Senators Wyden and Hyde-Smith – the Water and Power Subcommittee. 

“Congratulations to you all. 

“I look forward to working closely with you. 

“Today, our committee will vote on the nomination of Representative Deb Haaland to be secretary of the interior. 

“Before her nomination, Representative Haaland stated she was – ‘wholeheartedly against fracking and drilling on public lands.’ 

“She wanted to – ‘keep fossil fuels in the ground.’

“She pledged to – ‘vote against all new fossil fuel infrastructure.’ 

“I, along with other Western senators, have consistently opposed nominees who hold such radical views. 

“As a member of Congress, Representative Haaland cosponsored the Green New Deal. 

“She cosponsored legislation to disregard the scientific recommendations of the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations on delisting the grizzly bear from the endangered species list.

“Representative Haaland’s positions are squarely at odds with the mission of the Department of the Interior and outside of the mainstream. 

“During her confirmation hearing, Congresswoman Haaland struggled or refused to answer the basic questions any nominee for the Department of the Interior would be expected know. 

“She was unwilling or unable to respond to questions about the department, resource policy, and the laws she would be asked to implement. 

“Senator Risch had to directly ask her four times if she supported shutting down the Keystone Pipeline before she said that she did. 

“He then had to ask her multiple times why she thought that was a good idea.

“There was never a good answer. 

“Her written answers to the questions for the record were equally unacceptable. 

“Multiple-part questions from members of this committee received two sentence responses.

“In one answer, she wouldn’t even acknowledge that the United States has higher environmental standards for oil and gas production than Russia or Nigeria. 

“The people of Wyoming deserve straight answers from any potential secretary about the law, the rules, and the regulations that will affect their lives and their livelihoods. 

“They got very few of those. 

“In addition, Representative Haaland seemed unaware of President Biden’s policies’ destructive impacts. 

“Policies that are taking a sledgehammer to Wyoming and other Western state economies. 

“When asked about the very real impacts that President Biden’s policies are having on energy workers across the country, Representative Haaland responded – ‘hopefully their jobs have not been affected.’ 

“Thousands of jobs are being affected. 

“In Wyoming alone, a long-term leasing ban would result in 33,000 workers losing their jobs. 

“Hundreds of thousands more workers stand to lose their jobs in New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and other states. 

“I asked her why the administration wouldn’t just let energy workers keep their jobs. 

“Representative Haaland had no good answer. 

“American jobs are being sacrificed in the name of the Biden agenda. 

“These policies will have no effect on climate change but have real life consequences for thousands and thousands of Americans. 

“Representative Haaland’s nomination is historic. 

“If confirmed, she would be the first Native American cabinet secretary. 

“But let me be very clear, Representative Haaland’s extreme policy views and lack of substantive answers during the hearing disqualify her for this job. 

“If she is allowed to pursue her Green New Deal-inspired policies at the Department of the Interior, she will run Wyoming and other states’ economies into a ditch. 

“I cannot support her nomination.”