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Recap: #DebForInterior confirmation hearing
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

TESTIMONY: Statement of Debra Anne Haaland

It was a historic day for Indian Country as Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) finally got her confirmation hearing to be Secretary of the Interior.

Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, spoke in the Keres language, acknowledged the nation’s capital as the homelands of the Nakochtank, Anacostan and Piscataway peoples and responded to numerous questions about the Biden administration’s priorities should be confirmed to lead the Department of the Interior at the hearing on Tuesday.

“If an Indigenous woman from humble beginnings can be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, our country holds promise for everyone,” Haaland said in her opening statement.

Democrats on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources frequently brought up Indian Country issues in their inquiries. Conditions at Bureau of Indian Education schools, the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the need to protect sacred sites and tribal cultural patrimony were some of the topics discussed.

Most of the questions posed by Republican committee members centered on energy development on federal lands, a significant area at Interior. The objections were raised in light of President Joe Biden’s temporary pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and an off-shore public waters.

On the Democratic/Independent side of the committee, Haaland interacted with, in order:

• Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Chairman
• Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington)
• Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont)
• Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)
• Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico)
• Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)
• Sen. Angus King (I-Maine)
• Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada)
• Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado)

The only Democrat who did not speak on Tuesday was Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona), a new member of the U.S. Senate and a new member of the committee.

On the Republican side, Haaland responded to questions from, in order:

• Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Ranking Member
• Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)
• Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana)
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
• Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma)
• Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana)
• Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota)
• Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi)
• Sen. Marshall Roger (R-Kansas)

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) was the only Republican who did not speak on Tuesday.

From concerns about energy development and the Dakota Access Pipeline to inquiries about Bears Ears National Monument and the Keystone XL Pipeline, relive the experience with our social media recap. And prepare for a second round on Wednesday, as the confirmation hearing continues.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Notice
Hearing to Consider Nomination of the Honorable Debra Haaland to be the Secretary of the Interior (February 23, 2021)

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