- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Two Western Republicans placed holds Tuesday on Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination for Interior Secretary, citing concerns about job-killing impact of the New Mexico Democrat’s opposition to pipelines and drilling on federal lands.

The holds by Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican, and Sen. Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming Republican, are unlikely to derail the nominee, who has the support of at least two GOP senators, but will delay a Senate confirmation vote.

“I will be forcing debate on Rep. Haaland’s nomination to Interior,” said Mr. Daines in a statement. “Her record is clear: she opposes pipelines & fossil fuels, ignores science when it comes to wildlife management & wants to ban trapping on public lands. Her views will hurt the Montana way of life and kill Montana jobs. We must consider the impact she will have on the West.”

Ms. Haaland’s nomination cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week when Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, crossed party lines to report favorably the nominee, who would be the first Native American to head a Cabinet department.

Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, has also said she will vote to confirm Ms. Haaland, giving her additional headroom in the 50-50 Senate.



Ms. Lummis pointed to a University of Wyoming study released in December that found a ban on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands would cost Western states billions in foregone revenue. In Wyoming alone, such a policy could cost $2.74 billion in investment and more than 18,000 jobs per year between 2021-25.

Mr. Biden has suspended all new oil-and-gas leasing on federal lands while his administration undertakes a review, a decision that foes have decried as a de facto fracking ban.

“Congresswoman Deb Haaland will be a champion of this and even more radical policies, and I am committed to doing anything I can to fight the Biden and Haaland job-killing agenda,” said Ms. Lummis in a statement. “For Wyoming’s energy workers and producers who will bear the loss of jobs, and for our medical professionals and children who will bear the loss of revenue, I’m putting a hold on Deb Haaland’s nomination to serve as Secretary of the Interior.”

During her confirmation hearings, Ms. Haaland said that she would support the Biden administration’s priorities, and acknowledged under questioning that she supports Mr. Biden’s decision to shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline.

She also cosponsored the 2019 Green New Deal resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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