Barrasso: Secretary Haaland Must Follow the Law

May 2, 2023

“President Biden’s agenda is not a transition from dirty energy to clean energy. It’s a transition from American energy to foreign minerals.” 

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 opening remarks at a full committee hearing to examine the President’s budget request for the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2024.

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior.

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Thanks so much, Mr. Chairman. Madame Secretary, welcome back to the committee.

“In Wyoming, about half of our land is owned by the federal government.

“About two-thirds of the minerals under the land are owned by the federal government.

“The Secretary of Interior controls access to these lands and to the minerals.

“As a result, the Secretary’s decisions deeply affect the people of Wyoming. I’m sad to say that

Secretary Haaland has failed the people of Wyoming.

“Her assault on American energy has contributed to soaring energy prices across the country.

“Her efforts to block access to large swaths of the West have led to lost economic opportunities.

“And her decisions often ignore the law of the land.

“The Secretary should be following the law.

“Instead of holding quarterly oil and gas lease sales, the Secretary has held only one lease sale in two years.

“Instead of approving oil and gas permits on a timely basis, the Secretary has doubled the length of the permitting process.

“Instead of setting royalty rates at a level to boost oil and gas production, the Secretary has raised rates to discourage production.

“Instead of doing everything in her power to increase America’s energy security, the Secretary is jeopardizing our energy security and at the same time, our national security.

“The sad fact is that the Secretary’s policies undermine even President Biden’s energy goals.

“World demand for copper is expected to increase by 300 percent by the year 2040.

“Nickel demand is expected to increase by 1,900 percent.

“Cobalt demand is expected to increase by 2,100 percent.

“Much of this demand will be driven by President Biden’s mandates and subsidies for electric vehicles, for wind farms, for solar panels.

“Yet, earlier this year, the Secretary withdrew over 225,000 acres of federal land from copper, nickel, and cobalt development in Minnesota.

“This site contains 95 percent of our nation’s nickel reserves, 88 percent of our cobalt reserves, and 34 percent of our nation’s copper reserves.

“Minerals from this project could help produce 7 million electric vehicles.

“Yet, the Secretary of Interior is blocking projects that would produce the very materials that are needed to support the administration’s stated agenda.

“Let’s be clear: President Biden’s agenda is not a transition from dirty energy to clean energy.

“It’s a transition from American energy to foreign minerals.

“And Secretary Haaland’s policies will only expand our dependence on our adversaries. It will increase our dependence on China and on Russia.

“The Secretary is also attacking multiple-use of the land.

“Multiple-use is the decades-old, bedrock principle of federal land management.

“In March, the Department of the Interior released a proposed rule to allow entities to lease federal lands for the purpose – not of use, but of non-use.

“In other words, the Secretary wants to make non-use a use.

“She is calling up – down, day – night, black – white – turning federal law on its head.

“The Secretary is giving radicals a new tool to shut out the public.

“Remember, environmental radicals don’t want the public to have access to public lands.

“Families and communities in Wyoming and throughout the West depend on access to public lands for grazing, for forest management, for recreation.

“The Secretary of Interior is aggressively working to take that access away from the public.

“Finally, the Secretary is seeking to cut funding – in a budget that has a lot more money for a lot of things – wants to cut funding to the Bureau of Reclamation for the third year in a row.

“The Bureau is responsible for delivering water to the people of the West.

“In Wyoming, water sustains everything that we do.

“Our ranchers and farmers produce food for all Americans.

“They need to know that they’re going to have enough water to do their jobs.

“In the midst of a historic drought, now is not the time to cut the budget for the Bureau of Reclamation.

“The people of Wyoming and all Americans deserve better.

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”