Daines ‘deeply concerned’ with nomination of Haaland for Interior Secretary

After speaking with Rep. Deb Haaland, Sen. Steve Daines on Friday said in a statement that he is “deeply concerned with the Congresswoman’s support on several radical issues” and threatened to “block her confirmation.”

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Haaland will be the first Native American to hold the position. A Democratic representative from New Mexico, Haaland is a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe. When Biden announced her nomination on Dec. 17 tribal members in Montana celebrated the historic pick.

Daines cited Haaland’s support of the Green New Deal and President Joe Biden’s oil and gas moratorium as well as her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline as reasons for his concern.

“I’m not convinced the Congresswoman can divorce her radical views and represent what’s best for Montana and all stakeholders in the West. Unless my concerns are addressed, I will block her confirmation,” he said.

Ronnie Jo Horse, executive director of Western Native Voice, said in a statement on Saturday that Haaland’s nomination “brings hope for Indigenous communities and the United States.”

“Deb Haaland’s nomination and her hopeful confirmation would bring an Indigenous point of view when making decisions on issues that govern our Native lands, natural resources, education, criminal justice, and economic systems. … Rep. Haaland is someone that understands our communities because she is from them and has first-hand experience with the issues we face,” she said.

Rep. Matt Rosendale joined 14 Republican members of Congress in signing a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to withdraw his nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary of Interior, saying her nomination is “a direct threat to working men and women and a rejection of responsible development of America’s natural resources.”

The Jan. 26 letter contends Haaland’s support of the Green New Deal “is an attempt at halting any industrial development and millions of Americans will lose quality, high-wage jobs in oil and gas, aviation, mining, logging and other sectors.”

The Secretary and the Department of the Interior are responsible for the conservation of most federal land and natural resources, leading the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, among other agencies.