Barrasso: Representative Haaland’s Policy Views and Lack of Substantive Answers Disqualify Her for this Important Job

March 11, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the nomination of the Honorable Debra Haaland to be secretary of interior.

Barrasso is ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR). 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Today, the Senate is debating the nomination of Deb Haaland, member of Congress, to serve as secretary of the interior. 

“If confirmed, she would be the first Native American cabinet member in United States history. 

“This is a historic moment, and it should be recognized. 

“I want to be very clear, Representative Haaland’s policy views and lack of substantive answers during her nomination hearing disqualify her for this job. 

“In May of 2019, Representative Haaland said unequivocally in an interview with The Guardian: ‘I am wholeheartedly against fracking and drilling on public lands.’ 

“On her campaign website, she stated she wanted to ‘keep fossil fuels in the ground.’

“On the same site, she pledged to ‘vote against all new fossil fuel infrastructure.’ 

“I, along with many other western senators, have consistently opposed nominees who hold such extreme views. 

“Representative Haaland’s views are not just statements – they are backed up by legislation that she has cosponsored. 

“As a member of Congress, she was a day-one cosponsor of the Green New Deal. 

“Destructive legislation that would not just overhaul American energy but would impact almost every sector of society and cause great harm to America’s economy. 

“That bill was so extreme that when it was brought here to the Senate floor, it received no support – none. 

“She also cosponsored legislation to provide permanent federal protections for the grizzly bear. 

“That legislation is also extreme. 

“The legislation she proposed as a member of the House completely disregards the scientific conclusions of the Bush administration, the Obama administration, and the Trump administration. 

“How many things can we name that all three of those presidents agreed upon? But the three of them did. 

“They all concluded it was time to take the grizzly bear off of the endangered species list.

“Both Democratic and Republican interior departments determined the grizzly bear is fully recovered.

“But Representative Haaland has chosen instead, to ignore the science and the scientists of the very department that she is now nominated to lead. 

“Representative Haaland’s policy views are squarely at odds with the mission of the Department of the Interior. 

“That mission includes taking species off of the endangered species list when they are recovered. 

“The grizzly bear is full recovered. 

“That department also manages our nation’s oil, gas, and coal resources in a responsible manner – not eliminating access to them completely. 

“Just as troubling as her policy views were her answers to questions, during the confirmation process. 

“She struggled or refused to answer the basic questions any nominee for the Department of the Interior would be expected to know and answer. 

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

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

“No good answer. 

“American jobs are being sacrificed in the name of the Biden agenda – and Representative Haaland couldn’t defend it. 

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

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

“She never really gave an answer. 

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

“In one response to a question of mine, she refused to acknowledge that the United States has higher environmental standards for oil and gas production than Russia or Nigeria. 

“The American people deserve straight answers from the potential secretary about the law, about the rules, and about the regulations that are going to affect so many lives and livelihoods. 

“She gave very few of those at her nomination hearing and in her written responses. 

“Representative Haaland’s extreme views, cosponsorship of catastrophic legislation, and lack of responsiveness disqualify her for this important position as secretary of the interior. 

“If she is allowed to implement her Green New Deal-inspired policies at the Department of the Interior, the results for America’s energy supply and economy will be catastrophic. 

“I will not support her nomination and I urge other senators also to vote against the nomination.”