Oil and natural gas will continue to play a major role in the US for years to come, even as the Biden administration pledges the Department of the Interior to President Joe Biden’s nominee to protect public lands and tackle climate change.

Deb New Holland, president of a New Mexico congress named to head the Interior Department, said he is “committed to creating the right balance” as the agency manages energy development and restores and protects the nation’s vast federal lands Wants to

Biden’s agenda, including the possible creation of a civilian climate core, “demonstrates that America’s public lands can and should be the engines for clean energy production” and “there are possibilities for job creation,” Hollande said in his confirmation hearing Tuesday Said in prepared testimony. .

Haland’s remarks are intended to defy criticisms from some Republicans who have complained that their opposition to drilling on federal lands would harm thousands of jobs and economies throughout the West.

Holland, 60 years old, would be the first Native American to head a cabinet agency. Members of the Laguna Pueblo and two-term congressmen often draw on their experiences as a single mother and the teachings of their ancestors as a reminder of the way America takes action on climate change, the environment and sacred sites for generations to come. Will affect

Congresswoman Deb Heland made the remarks after being introduced after nominating President Joey Biddens as the next US Secretary of the Interior at the Queen Theater on December 19, 2020 in Willington, Delaware. (Photo via ALEX EDELMAN / AFP Getty Image)

Native Americans considered Hollande’s nomination to be the best chance to move toward consensus in consultation with tribal issues and to put more land in the hands of Aboriginal countries, either outside the land or through agreement. The Department of the Interior has extensive oversight of tribal affairs and energy development.

“The historical nature of my confirmation is not lost on me, but I will say that it is not about me,” said Holland in his prepared testimony. “Rather, I hope that this nomination will be an inspiration to Americans – moving forward together. Creating opportunities as a nation and for all of us.”

As the daughter of a Pueblo woman, Haaland says that she learned early to work hard. Her mother is a Navy veteran and has worked for a quarter-century at the Bureau of Indian Education, an agency of the Interior Department. Her father was a Marine who served in Vietnam. He Received the Silver Star and is buried at the Arlington National Ceremony.

“As a military family, we moved every few years when I was a child, but no matter where we lived, my father taught me and my siblings to appreciate nature, Whether it is on the way to the mountain or walking along the beach, ”said Holland.

The future Congressman spent summers in Mesita, a Laguna Pueblo village with his grandparents. “It was with my grandfather in the cornfields where I learned the importance of water and protected our resources and where I acquired a deep respect for the Earth,” she said.

Haaland promised to lead the Department of the Interior with respect and integrity and said he would be “an avid advocate for our country.”

She Promised to listen and work with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and ensure that the decisions of the Department of the Interior are based on science. She “Vowed to respect the sovereignty of tribal countries and recognize their part in America’s story.”

She She said she fully understood that the Department of the Interior should have a role in Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan for infrastructure and clean energy, and said she wanted to protect natural resources for future generations so that we Continue to work, live, hunt, fish, and pray among them. ”

Holland’s nomination has sparked strong opposition from some Republicans who say their “radical views” do not fit with rural life, particularly in the West. They cite his support for the Green New Deal and Biden’s recent moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal lands – which does not apply to tribal lands – and his opposition to the fracking and Keystone XL oil pipelines.

Sen. Steve Danes, R-Mont said that Holland would have to persuade him that he is ready to break his “radical views” as a legalist, including opposing the oil industry and federal protection for grizzly bears.

“Her record speaks for itself. She is a tough, far-right thinker,” Dias said in an interview.

Some Native American advocates called Hollande’s description of her tribal status as “radical” a loaded reference.

“This kind of language is like a dog whistle for some people who see someone who is an indigenous woman who is potentially in a position of power,” said Tajin Perez with the group Western Native Voice. “Somewhat foolish afraid of change.”

Daines, in his remarks, described the notion of racial excesses as derogatory.

He The Senate is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which will consider Hollande’s nomination at a hearing to be held on Tuesday. The panel’s chair, Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., Has not said how he would vote on Holland’s nomination, which Democrats generally support. A libertarian, Manchin said he plans to oppose Biden’s choice for budget director, Neera Tandon, a significant flaw that could sink his nomination into the equally divided Senate.

National civil rights groups have joined with tribal leaders and environmental groups in support of Halland. A joint statement from the NAACP, UnidosUS and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum praised her nomination as “historic” and called Holland “a proven civil rights / racial judicial advocate”.

A letter signed by nearly 500 national and regional organizations representing Native Americans, environmental justice groups and outdoor businesses called Holland, “a proven leader and the right person to lead the charge against the existential threats of our time : Climate, Biodiversity, Extinction and the COVID-19 Crisis and Racial Justice Inequalities on Our Federal Public Lands and Water. “

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Associated Press writer Matthew Brown contributed to this report, in Billings, Mont.