By RICK WHITBECK
I’ve read a number of news articles, letters to the editor and social media posts these past few weeks about how Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) would make an outstanding Secretary of the Interior for the Biden administration.
Each of the writers have focused on Haaland’s Native American heritage, as she’s a member of the Laguna Pueblo, and how her nomination was “historic.” I agree her heritage is something to be very proud of, but the historic nature of Haaland’s native heritage aside, confirming her would be disastrous for Alaska.
My organization, Power The Future, recently put together an overview of Haaland’s radical environmentalism; extreme views that will shape her policies and politics if she is ultimately confirmed as Interior Secretary.
Just a few examples of her beliefs should terrify Alaskans who care about our state’s role in energy development and who believe – as the majority of us do – in a robust, reliable and continued balance between environmental stewardship and responsible resource development.
Haaland has been a supporter and co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, a radical climate agenda that would cost Alaskan households more than $87,500 in the first year and more than $51,000 every year after that.
Haaland signed onto the People’s Demands for Climate Justice, which called for full divestment from fossil fuels by 2020 and an immediate ban on fracking. Haaland has said that it was time to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure in America.
In 2019, Haaland egregiously implied that the oil and gas industry was responsible for murdered and missing indigenous women in New Mexico, a vulgar and offensive accusation she claimed was an issue of “environmental injustice.”
During her confirmation hearings, Haaland either refused – or was incapable of – providing answers to basic questionsabout how her out-of-mainstream beliefs would mesh with her role as Interior Secretary.
Putting someone as radical and seemingly ignorant of Interior Department basics in charge of an agency that owns and manages over 61% of Alaska’s lands, including much of our yet-untapped resource potential, is a recipe for disaster for our economy in the short- and long-terms.
We must trust Alaska’s Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to focus on what is best for the people of Alaska, and not feel like “making history” is what’s important. They hopefully will see Haaland is the wrong person for Alaska in this role.
Alaska’s bright energy future may hang in the balance.