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Biden Nominee Narrowly Confirmed Despite GOP Warnings Against Her 'Extreme' Energy Agenda

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The Senate on Monday narrowly confirmed New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary.

Haaland was confirmed on a 51-40 vote, the narrowest margin yet for a Cabinet nomination by President Joe Biden.

Four Republicans voted for Haaland: Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The Interior Department makes decisions on relations with nearly 600 federally recognized Native American tribes. It also oversees a host of other issues, including energy development on public lands and waters, national parks and endangered species.

Haaland, a two-term congresswoman who represents greater Albuquerque, will be the first Native American Cabinet member in U.S. history.

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“Rep. Haaland’s confirmation represents a gigantic step forward in creating a government that represents the full richness and diversity of this country,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

“Native Americans for far too long have been neglected at the Cabinet level and in so many other places.”

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, thanked supporters at a virtual party hosted by Native American organizations.

Haaland said she was “ready to roll up my sleeves” so Interior can “responsibly manage our natural resources to protect them for future generations.”

Do you support Rep. Haaland's confirmation?

Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo tribe, called Haaland’s confirmation “an unprecedented and monumental day for all first people of this country. Words cannot express how overjoyed and proud we are to see one of our own confirmed to serve in this high-level position.″

Some Republican senators have criticized Haaland’s stance on oil drilling and other energy development as “radical” and extreme, citing her opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and her support for the Green New Deal.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Haaland’s “extreme views” and support of “catastrophic legislation” such as the Green New Deal would make her confirmation as interior secretary disastrous, harming America’s energy supply and economy.

“American jobs are being sacrificed in the name of the Biden agenda, and Rep. Haaland couldn’t defend it,” Barrasso said last week, referring to decisions by Biden to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and impose a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Barrasso also criticized Haaland’s support for continued protection for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region despite a recommendation by the Fish and Wildlife Service that about 700 bears in parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho no longer need protections.

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“Rep. Haaland has chosen to ignore the science and the scientists of the very department that she is now nominated to lead,” Barrasso said.

Murkowski voted for Haaland despite “some real misgivings” about her views on oil drilling and other energy issues.

Barrasso and several other Western senators missed the vote due to a severe winter storm that dumped 3 feet of snow on parts of Colorado and Wyoming, causing multiple flight cancellations.

Fellow Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis and Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper of Colorado also missed the vote.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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