Haaland, Heinrich & Hikers
Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), President Biden’s nominee to be the Secretary of Interior, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Born in Winslow, Arizona in 1960, Haaland is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo. Both parents were in the military, so she moved around quite a bit, attending thirteen different schools, until finally graduating from Highland High School in Albuquerque. She enrolled at UNM where she earned a B.A. in English followed by a juris doctor from the UNM School of Law.
Haaland served as Chairman of the Laguna Development Corporation and was active in President Obama’s reelection campaign. She served as Chairman of the New Mexico Democrat Party for two years and then won her seat in the U.S. House of Representative in 2018. While in office, she has positioned herself as a left-wing progressive. Haaland has been placed as one of the top ten most liberal members in Congress, which has led to the controversies of her nomination.
Leading the opposition to her nomination was Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.). Concerning her two-day hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Daines issued the following statement which I have edited for brevity:
- Daines questioned Haaland on her views on wildlife management and about her own legislation providing federal protections of the grizzly bear in perpetuity. Haaland refused to commit to follow the science, delist the grizzly bear and return management back to the state. Haaland dodged important questions about her anti-energy record including her opposition to fracking, pledge to keep fossil fuels in the ground, her opposition to fossil fuel infrastructure, call to ban pipelines and opposition to projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline.
- Daines raised concerns with Haaland’s evasive responses that she will blindly follow President Biden and his anti-American energy agenda which has already abandoned Montana workers, killed Montana jobs, eliminated millions in revenue for Montana counties, and actually increases emissions…
- Daines raised concerns and pressed Haaland on her stance on several land management and sportsmen issues, and opposition to trapping on public lands, in the context of her long record of opposing multiple use on public lands…
- Daines raised concerns with her push to make it more difficult to mine in the U.S., forcing the U.S. to rely on countries with terrible human rights and environmental standards…
Daines voted no on the committee and no on the full Senate motion to approve her nomination. Daines said, “Representative Haaland has a hostile record toward made in America energy, natural resource development, and wildlife and land management. She has enthusiastically called for a ban on all new pipelines and is a leading cosponsor of the Green New Deal. I have serious concerns about how Rep. Haaland will use this position in ways that negatively impact the Montana way of life.”
During the floor debate, Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo) took just one issue, the ban on fracking, and showed how that would impact her state:
A University of Wyoming analysis found that Wyoming stands to lose nearly $13 billion in tax revenue if we don't lift the Biden ban on new oil and gas leasing and drilling on Federal lands. To put this in context, $13 billion in tax revenue would educate 60,000 Wyoming students from kindergarten through high school graduation. It would fund the University of Wyoming for the next 59 years. It would fund our public safety and corrections budget for the next 68 years. And it would fund the Wyoming Department of Health for the next 26 years.
These are real numbers, and the Biden ban is having real consequences.
Yes, those are real consequences.
Compare that to what Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) said during the floor debate. Heinrich says Haaland will lead Interior “to create more equitable access to our public lands, to stand for environmental justice, to find real solutions for the climate crisis, to protect wildlife and clean water, and support rural economic development.”
Note that Heinrich lists six items. Which one is dead last? Rural economic development.
What is this “equitable access”? Is there inequity in access? If we turn to the Aspen Institute, they say yes. “Black, Indigenous, and people of color have been and continue to be left out of conversations about how public lands should be defined, who they should serve, and how they should be managed. This lack of representation in the policy decision-making process has meant that policies implemented only truly benefit a narrow and privileged group of people.” This can only be remedied, “by both inviting and creating space for those who have traditionally been excluded from the decision-making table.”
Part of this means they want more people to comment on whether or not grazing should occur in defined areas, on whether or not a ten-year grazing permit should be issued, and if issued, to have more comment on your allotment management plan. You “narrow” and “privileged” ranchers must adjust.
Equitable also contains the issue of fairness. Look at the rights you have as compared to hikers and birdwatchers. Is there an 1891 Hikers Reserve Act? No. Is there a Taylor Birdwatching Act of 1934? No. This is inequitable, or unfair. It can be resolved in two ways. Create new rights and legislative authority for the aggrieved parties, or remove the same from the current participants. Your right, there is a third way. A bipartisan compromise will be reached whereby you give up certain rights while others acquire various rights, resulting in a more fair, balanced and equitable federal lands policy. Woke has come to the Wilderness.
As I’m wrapping up this column two new items cross my desk.
First, it is being reported that Trump’s Secretary of Interior, David Bernhardt, snuck Senator Lisa Murkowski an “11th-hour win” as he walked out the door. Bernhardt issued a memo to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service instructing them to move forward with the permitting of a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Alaska. Good move, but why couch it in such a way as to benefit Murkowski? She voted to find Trump guilty in his impeachment trial and we are just now learning she is #2 on Trump’s hit list. Something seems terribly awry here.
Finally, a study was just released that identifies a mass of land the size of South Carolina in parts of Arizona and western New Mexico that could potentially support more than 150 jaguars in the future. The author says, “…this paper tries to set clear is that, yes, there's definitely habitat for jaguars to repopulate the United States.”
My friends, you only have three things to fear: Progressives, RINOs, and large predatory animals. Or, are they all the same thing?
Until next time, be a
nuisance to the devil and don’t forget to check that cinch.
Frank DuBois was the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003, is the author of a blog: The Westerner (www.thewesterner.blogspot.com) and is the founder of The DuBois Rodeo Scholarship and The DuBois Western Heritage Foundation