Opinion | Why Senate Republicans fear Deb Haaland

February 27, 2021 ☼ haalandinteriorcabinetbiden

Source: The Washington Post - Link

Utah Sen. Mike Lee expressed his dissatisfaction with the designation of Bears Ears as a national monument, asking whether Haaland thought it was “appropriate for stakeholders, people who have some sort of economic interest in the land or some sort of connection to the land … to be involved in the national monument designation process.” Lee was apparently unaware that the nominee’s Pueblo relatives are among the tribes that consider Bears Ears a sacred place, tracing their connections to the land to time immemorial.

Haaland appeared unperturbed. We Indians, after all, are well-practiced in the art of accommodating and poking fun at our antagonists; we’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. When Daines asked the secretary-designate why she co-sponsored a bill protecting grizzly bears in perpetuity, Haaland responded with forthright charm: “I imagine, at the time, I was caring about the bears.”

Conservatives have portrayed Haaland as a divisive partisan, but in 2019, she introduced the most bills with bipartisan support of all House freshmen. On Tuesday, Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska — a conservative congressman from an oil state — introduced Haaland as a strong nominee and friend who works across the aisle and whose perspective as a native person is needed at Interior. “Anyone who thinks we’re going to call off fossil fuels immediately is smoking pot,” he added — a rebuke to environmentalists, yes, but also to his colleagues in the upper chamber.

It is clear that this portrayal of Haaland as some leftist radical is way off the mark. Don Young has his head on straight and sees her for what she is: intelligent. She would work to decrease reliance on fossil fuels in a methodical way. There will be disruption, but it can be contained.