It must be re-election time if the Biden administration is attempting a centrist re-brand.
Take the recent puff piece on Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. Reading the Washington Post profile, one could be forgiven for seeing Haaland as a down-the-middle administrator, tasked with making tough decisions in the best interests of the nation, with no agenda driving her actions.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Before Interior, Haaland was a back-bencher member of Congress whose short tenure was marked by vehement hostility toward domestic energy projection. Despite representing the second-largest oil and gas-producing state in the nation, Haaland earned a 98% alignment with the extremist League of Conservation Voters. She proudly co-sponsored Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal.
She opposed numerous development projects in my home state of Alaska, including the Willow oil project greenlit by the Biden administration earlier this year. Haaland also joined environmental activists fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
You are the company you keep, and when Biden announced Haaland to lead Interior, environmental and social-justice activists were overjoyed. In fact, a group of 500 “community organizers” signed a letter to Senate leadership urging her swift confirmation. The activists lauded Haaland’s environmental commitments to a “just transition” away from fossil fuels.
Their message was clear: They wanted Haaland at Interior because she would do their bidding. And they were correct.
Now, Haaland is desperate to rewrite her past. In speaking with an un-skeptical media, Haaland claimed, “I’m not running this department for the progressives who want to keep it [oil] in the ground.”
Unfortunately for Haaland, her actions speak louder than her disingenuous words. Like her boss Joe Biden, She has run Interior with a clear, anti-development mission that mirrors her own extremist beliefs.
Within weeks at Interior, she brought an admitted eco-terrorist and longtime environmental zealot Tracy Stone-Manning onto her team to lead the Bureau of Land Management.
Haaland has weaponized Interior’s bureaucratic machine to thwart countless projects. A key life-saving road in Alaska between Native villages was stalled in early 2023, forcing residents in King Cove to wait for lifesaving medivacs during stormy weather. That rejection was in direct conflict with an approved 2019 land exchange between Congress, Alaska and tribal entities that would have allowed the road to proceed. And for good measure, her decision also came after Haaland visited King Cove in 2022, telling its residents she was “committed to a solution.” Months later, there’s still no solution, nor any actions on the Secretary’s part.
Haaland also champions the “America the Beautiful” plan, a radical initiative that permanently sets aside 30% of federal lands by 2030 from future development. Protecting federal land may sound catchy, but ironically it denies Americans the ability to access strategic minerals needed for the green revolution.
Consider a January order from Haaland issuing a 20-year moratorium of any development for 225,504 acres in Minnesota’s Boundary Canoe Watershed. By thwarting one of America’s largest copper and nickel mining prospects, Haaland denied domestic production of materials needed for EV batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.
In Nevada, the Avi Kwa Ame region could host one of the nation’s largest solar and wind-farms, but a March decision to set aside 500,000 acres effectively killed that prospect. Haaland cheered the designation, noting local tribal entities opposed development. Meanwhile her department bemoans the continued use of fossil fuels.
In Haaland’s home state of New Mexico, she initiated a new 10-mile, no-development zone around the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, thwarting the Navajo’s opportunities to grow its jobs and empower its people with responsible development of its lands.
Nothing Haaland says about being neutral with decisions made for the whole of the U.S. should be taken as anything other than campaign spin. She knows the American people will hold her and the Biden Administration accountable for their actions next November.
She is doing everything she can to attempt to hide the fact that she is an environmental radical, heading up a department whose actions have harmed the U.S. every day since taking office.
Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Email him at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter @PTFAlaska.
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