By Gabriella Hoffman
President-elect Joe Biden’s likely pick for Interior Secretary is New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM).
Haaland, first elected to Congress in 2018, was one of four contenders for the role—besting three fellow New Mexicans: Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich along with former Obama Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Conner. Without a doubt, Haaland’s nomination to the post is historic. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American Interior Secretary in department history. But how does she stand on the issues? And if Republicans maintain control of the U.S. Senate, what’s the likelihood of her confirmation?
As I wrote in Town Hall recently, Haaland’s positions on critical conservation and environmental issues would alienate most Americans: Haaland is an original Green New Deal backer and is endorsed by the Sunrise Movement. She also supports restoring the size of the controversial Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, opposes Endangered Species Act reforms, and endorses the “30 by 30” plan via House Resolution 835.
Who has endorsed Rep. Haaland for this role? Anti-hunting Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-NM), current chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, gave his seal of approval on a potential Haaland nod. He said this about Haaland in a letter obtained by The Hill newspaper: “It is well past time that an Indigenous person brings history full circle at the Department of Interior. As her colleague on the Natural Resources Committee, I have seen first-hand the passion and dedication she puts into these issues at the forefront of the Interior Department from tackling the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women to crafting thoughtful solutions to combating the climate crisis using America’s public lands.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also signed off on Haaland’s nomination: “Congresswoman Haaland knows the territory, and if she is the President-elect’s choice for Interior Secretary, then he will have made an excellent choice,” Pelosi said in a statement, giving her blessing for Biden to offer the job to the New Mexico Democrat if he chooses. It’ll be interesting to see if Rep. Haaland is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If Republicans maintain control of the Chamber, it’ll be very difficult for her to assume the role. If Republicans don’t maintain control of the Senate, it’ll be