WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) speaks in opposition to the confirmation of Robert T. Anderson to serve as the Solicitor at the Department of the Interior.

Barrasso is the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He accused Anderson, a citizen of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, of not having “sufficient legal experience beyond the tribal law to effectively navigate the complex web of issues governing the multiple use of public lands and federal lands.”

“I am very concerned about Mr. Anderson’s actions, specifically actions he has taken as the Principal Deputy Solicitor since January 20 of this year,” Barrasso said on the floor of the U.S. Senate on September 29, 2021. “He has revoked many solicitors’ opinions issued under the Trump administration. His work has paved the way for the Biden administration’s punishing policies that are in direct conflict with the Department of the Interior’s multiple-use mandate.”

Barrasso urged his colleagues to vote against Anderson’s confirmation. Despite his stance, the Senate voted 53 to 44 on September 29 to approve the nomination. Three Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in supporting Anderson.

Anderson, an attorney who has worked in public and private service for more than two decades, is the second Native person to oversee legal affairs at Interior, the federal agency with the most trust and treaty responsibilities in Indian Country. He has been working for the Joe Biden administration since January 20.

The first Native person, and the first Native woman, in the role was Hilary Tompkins, a citizen of the Navajo Nation. She served as Solicitor at Interior for all eight years of the Barack Obama administration.

Interior is being led by Secretary Deb Haaland, a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna who is the first Native person to serve in a presidential cabinet.

Video Courtesy C-SPAN

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