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GOP Senators Try To Slam Indigenous Interior Sec. Pick As 'Radical' For Believing In Climate Change

GOP Senators Try To Slam Indigenous Interior Sec. Pick As 'Radical' For Believing In Climate Change
Drew Angerer/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Confirmation hearings for President Biden's nominee for Interior Secretary, New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland, began this morning.

GOP lawmakers wasted no time, and are already trying to paint Haaland as "radical" for believing in science and wanting to alleviate climate change.

Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna who also has Jemez Pueblo heritage, was serving in the House as the Representative for New Mexico's 1st district since 2019. In that time, she has never tried to hide her opposition to environmentally damaging institutions like fracking or the Keystone XL pipeline.

Among those attempting to discredit Haaland is Montana Representative Steve Daines.

Daines even went so far as to claim he will "block her confirmation" over her "radical views" on climate change and the fossil fuel industry.

"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."

The Interior Department's duties include managing federal lands including national parks, forests, refuges and monuments—more than 600 million acres worth.

Haaland is known for opposing fossil fuel extraction on those federally owned lands, a position that may earn her some disapproval from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers whose states' economies rely heavily on revenue from oil and gas drilling.

Twitter users were unsurprised by GOP lawmakers' attempts to paint Haaland as too radical for the position of Secretary of the Interior.

Republican lawmakers are also concerned enough about her appointment to start questioning Haaland on her past criticism of Republicans.

GOP Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming brought up a tweet from last October in which Haaland said that "Republicans don't believe in science," in reference to comments made during the Vice Presidential debate.

Barrasso said he was concerned because some Republican lawmakers are medical doctors.

"Do you think that as medical doctors we don't believe in science? How do you stand by this statement?"

Haaland replied logically and simply:

"Senator, yes, if you're a doctor, I would assume that you believe in science."

While Republicans may be trying to paint Haaland as an unfit radical, many Americans think she is the perfect pick for the job.

Among those supporting Haaland are the tribal leaders of many Indigenous communities. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is also part of the Department of the Interior.

The connection has been used to seize and exploit treaty backed tribally owned lands—something Republicans hope to continue to do.

Republican lawmakers petitioned President Biden last month to withdraw his historic nomination of Haaland for Interior Secretary. In that letter, they first began to paint Haaland as too 'radical' to serve in the position—partially because of her support for the Green New Deal.