Murkowski questions Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 4:06 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On February 23rd and 24th, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met to consider the nomination of U.S. Representative Debra Haaland as President Biden’s Secretary of the Interior.

During the first hearing on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski joined in the questioning of Haaland, specifically her intentions regarding resource extraction in Alaska.

After discussing the importance of resource extraction to Alaska’s economy, Murkowski decried Biden’s executive actions on energy, which halted leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

“I don’t think they’re out to get us, but I do think there is a definite threat to the resource industry that our state is blessed to be able to host. So, if you are confirmed to this very significant position, what is your approach going to be with regards to oil and gas and mineral resource development within a state like Alaska?” Murkowski asked.

In response, Haaland avowed, “If I’m confirmed, I will rely heavily on our relationship moving forward. I do want to work with you. I do want to make sure that I understand the unique issues in Alaska, and to make sure that we are doing all we can to make sure that your constituents have the opportunities that they need.”

Haaland is the first Native American nominee for Secretary of the Interior.

As a witness for the hearing, Congressman Don Young spoke in support of her nomination, saying, “I think she is a friend and as a member of this administration, she’ll do a good job. She’ll work for us and she’ll reach across the aisle.”

Other topics under discussion at the hearing included the place of tribal governments in Alaska and the lower 48.

Both nomination hearings can be viewed in their entirety here.

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