Haaland OK'd at Interior, 1st Native American Cabinet head
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo Interior Secretary nominee Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., speaks during her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. On March 15, the Senate confirmed her as Interior Secretary. Haaland was confirmed by a 51-40 vote, the narrowest margin yet for a Cabinet nomination by President Joe Biden. Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo and a 35th-generation resident of New Mexico, thanked hundreds of supporters at a virtual party hosted by Native American organizations. Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, called Haaland’s confirmation “an unprecedented and monumental day for all first people of this country.
Senate energy panel backs Haaland for interior secretary
FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., listens during the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on her nomination to be Interior secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Watson/Pool Photo via AP, File)WASHINGTON – A key Senate committee on Thursday approved the nomination of New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to be interior secretary, clearing the way for a Senate vote that is likely to make her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved Haaland's nomination, 11-9, sending it to the Senate floor. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was the lone Republican to support Haaland, who won unanimous backing from committee Democrats. The committee vote follows an announcement Wednesday by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that she will support Haaland in the full Senate.
Biden gives boost to retiring senator's climate change plan
Udall is retiring from the Senate, but has emerged as a leading contender to be Interior secretary under President-elect Joe Biden. He has urged a shift in land and ocean management away from world-beating oil and gas production to tackling climate change and preserving wilderness. Oil and gas produced from public lands accounts for as much as one-fourth of U.S. carbon emissions. Udall says the Biden plan would make public lands “carbon neutral” by 2030, meaning the lands would absorb as much carbon dioxide as they emit from energy production. As the effects of climate change continue to worsen, “Congress will increasingly feel pressure from the public to get things done,'' Udall said.
Trump deploys more federal agents under 'law and order' push
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON President Donald Trump announced he will send federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to help combat rising crime, expanding the administrations intervention into local enforcement as he runs for reelection under a law and order mantle. Sending federal agents to help localities is not uncommon; Attorney General William Barr announced a similar surge effort in December for seven cities with spiking violence. Indeed, civil unrest escalated after federal agents were accused of whisking people away in unmarked cars without probable cause. The campaign believes the push can help Trump by drumming up support from suburban and older voters who may be rattled by violent images, which have been broadcast often by conservative media outlets. In New Mexico, Democratic elected officials had cautioned Trump against sending in federal agents, with U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich calling on Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales to resign for attending the White House event.
Congress passes sprawling plan to boost conservation, parks
Supporters say the measure, known as the Great American Outdoors Act, would be the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly 50 years. Supporters say the measure, known as the Great American Outdoors Act, would be the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. Supporters say the bill will create at least 100,000 jobs, while restoring national parks and repairing trails and forest systems. Gardner and Daines are among the Senates most vulnerable incumbents, and each represents a state where the outdoor economy and tourism at sites such as Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone national parks play an outsize role. Visitors cannot enjoy national parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite if the bathrooms dont work, if the trails and campgrounds arent open, or if the roads are in disrepair, Heinrich said.
Senate approves $2.8B plan to boost conservation, parks
The bill would spend about $2.8 billion per year on conservation, outdoor recreation and park maintenance. "Americas hundreds of millions of acres of public lands are the result of hundreds of years of exploration and conservation,'' said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell, R-Ky. Those measures are especially needed now, when communities surrounded by public lands have high unemployment rates because of shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Gardner said. Trump has tweeted in favor of the lands bill, saying it "will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands.'' Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., credited a new coalition of lawmakers from both parties who support conservation and public lands.