Barrasso Statement on the Nomination of Shannon Estenoz to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior

July 10, 2024

Click here to watch Senator Barrasso’s opening 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 remarks at a full committee hearing to consider the nomination of Shannon A. Estenoz to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior. Currently, Ms. Estenoz serves as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of Interior.

For more information on the hearing click here.


Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 


“Well thanks Mr. Chairman.


“Thanks for holding today’s hearing.


“Ms. Estenoz, welcome back to the Committee.


“Congratulations on your nomination to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior.


“Over the last three years, you’ve served as the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.


“In that position, you oversaw the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.


“These two agencies play a very significant role in my home state of Wyoming as you are well aware.

“During your tenure, you have shown a willingness to listen and to learn.


“You’ve demonstrated an ability to work across party lines.


“And made a sincere effort to find common ground on many very difficult issues.


“So I appreciate the collaborative approach that you have taken as the Assistant Secretary.


“We are here today to examine whether you should be confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior.


“The person who holds this position has a profound impact on the lives of the people of Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West.


“So If confirmed, one of her most important responsibilities will be to oversee energy and mineral development on federal lands.


“We in Wyoming are proud to be America’s leading producer of coal, uranium, trona, bentonite, helium.


“Proud to be a leading producer of oil and natural gas.


“In Wyoming, most energy and mineral production takes place on federal lands.


“In fact, almost 50 percent of Wyoming’s land and almost 70 percent of Wyoming’s minerals are owned by the federal government.


“Energy and mineral production is the engine of Wyoming’s economy.


“In 2021, oil and gas production alone contributed nearly $12 billion dollars to Wyoming’s economy and supported 58,000 jobs in a state where the population is only 500,000.


“For years, the State of Wyoming has collected over a billion dollars annually in royalties and taxes for energy production on federal lands.


“Wyoming uses this revenue to fund K through 12 public education and other essential services.


“It is imperative that the Deputy Secretary understands how the Department impacts the people of Wyoming and the West.

“For more than three years, Secretary Haaland has laid the groundwork for my states economic ruin. Absolutely she has done that.


“She has cancelled two years’ worth of oil and gas leases.


“She has nearly tripled timelines for oil and gas permits.


“She has put 2 million acres of existing oil and gas leases on hold.


“She has raised the costs of operating on federal lands by twenty-fold.


“And she has even refused to deliver leases to the winning bidders from a 2020 lease sale.


“It is now 2024. That is the Secretary of the Department.


“If that weren’t enough, Secretary Haaland now wants to prohibit coal leasing in the Powder River Basin.


“Last year, the Powder River Basin supplied 45 percent of all coal mined in the United States.


“It is the single richest source of affordable and reliable energy in the country.


“The Secretary wants to shut it down.


“It is an utterly reckless proposal by a completely irresponsible and unfit Secretary of the Interior.


“Secretary Haaland also wants to ban grazing, energy and mineral development, and recreation on over 2 million acres of federal land in southwest Wyoming. That is an active proposal by the Secretary of the Interior.


“These lands are not National Parks, they are not Wildlife Refuges, they are not Wildlife Areas.


“These are lands that Congress has specifically set aside for productive use – being attacked by the Secretary of the Interior.


“Time and again, Secretary Haaland has shown a contempt for the law of these United States.


“She has shown a hostility towards the people of Wyoming.


“And she has shown an indifference to the energy and mineral security of our nation.


“This needs to end.


“Neither Wyoming nor America can afford another four years of these destructive policies.


“So I look forward to hearing from you today.


“More than anything else, I want to know whether you are going to be a voice of reason at the Department and I hope you will be.


“I want to know whether you are willing to exercise independent judgment or whether we should just expect more of the same from this administration and this Secretary of the Interior.


“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”