President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Interior, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), is facing scrutiny for opposition to the job-creating oil and gas industry, among other radical views. Under consideration by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, Haaland received pushback from both Republicans and Democrats on her views that indicate opposition to fracking on public lands and Keystone XL Pipeline.
Haaland would not give committee Chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) firm answers on commitment to the oil and gas industry, and, similarly, did not commit to upholding a major accomplishment of the Trump administration. In June of 2019, in a move spearheaded by former Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) relocated its headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado. Notably, the agency manages land primarily in the West, which was a prominent reason behind the move; specifically, BLM controls 245 million acres within 10 Western states.
Haaland was previously critical of the Trump administration’s move to relocate the BLM headquarters, but promised to keep an “open dialogue” when pressed on the issue during her Senate hearing on Tuesday. Still, she would not commit to keeping BLM headquartered in Grand Junction.
Colorado Republicans are pushing the state’s pair of Democratic Senators, Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, to “place a hold” on Haaland’s nomination until a commitment to keeping BLM’s headquarters in the Centennial State is publicly noted. Bennet supported the move led by Gardner during the Trump administration.
"Today, the Colorado GOP is demanding that Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper place a hold on Rep. Haaland's nomination until she publicly commits to keeping the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Colorado," Colorado GOP Spokesman Joe Jackson said on Wednesday. "Colorado and Grand Junction are worth fighting for - as Colorado's current voices in the U.S. Senate they need to fight to ensure that the BLM stays closest to the millions of acres they manage."
Haaland’s confirmation process continues before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, as lawmakers in both parties express concern with the new administration’s attacks on the oil and gas industry.