Mexico may reduce protection area for endangered porpoises


The Guardian

How Deb Haaland’s confirmation offer turned into a ‘proxy fight’ over fossil fuels

Joe Biden’s progressive candidate for home secretary faced tough questions from lawmakers with deep ties to the industry, Deb Haaland, at a Senate hearing on her confirmation as home secretary. Photo: Reuters In the middle of Deb Haaland’s sometimes contentious confirmation hearing as US Secretary of the Interior last week, an acknowledgment came from the two powerful forces, with very different attitudes toward the climate crisis, which have faced the nomination. “I almost feel like his nomination is a power struggle over the future of fossil fuels,” Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, told Haaland during the Senate hearing. Haaland, a staunch climate action advocate seeking to be the first Native American confirmed as cabinet secretary, was careful not to get directly into this fray, assuring senators that fossil fuels would be around for “the next few years” and that I intended to be someone who “serves all Americans, not just my district in New Mexico.” But the battle lines between the fossil fuel industry and the activists and environmentalists who oppose it have been starkly drawn in the fight for Haaland’s nomination. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican who has received nearly $ 1.2 million from oil and gas companies and their employees during his time in the Senate, said he was “concerned about a lot of [Haaland’s] radical views ”and scolded her for a tweet saying Republicans don’t believe in science. Senator Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, said he was “deeply concerned” by Haaland’s “radical” support for Joe Biden’s hiatus from drilling for oil and gas on public land, not to mention that his campaign had taken $ 288,500 of these industries in the last five years alone. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who throughout his Senate career accepted nearly $ 1.7 million in oil and gas interests, deliberately asked Haaland, “Will your administration be guided by a bias against fossil fuels or will it be guided by by science? ” while Utah’s Mike Lee, who blamed protections in place in Bears Ears, an area of ​​the state important to Native Americans, for “impoverished” locals, has received $ 366,000 from oil and gas during his Senate tenure. This staunch opposition likely won’t sink Haaland’s nomination given that Republicans are in the minority in the Senate and Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia’s coal heart, has said he will vote to confirm it after getting enough assurances that the fuels fossils won. ” t be scrapped immediately to deal with the unfolding climate crisis. But the dispute over Haaland’s nomination highlights the enormous political challenge of rapidly shifting the US away from oil, coal and gas towards cleaner forms of energy to avoid increasingly disastrous heat waves, floods, wildfires. , social unrest and other diseases. Republicans have signaled that they will fiercely enforce a status quo in which fossil fuel extraction on vast tracts of public lands, including areas sacred to Native Americans, remains unhindered. Opposing them is a broad coalition of environmental, youth and indigenous rights groups, along with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, who see Haaland’s historic rise as a pivotal moment in tackling environmental, economic, racial and economic inequalities. long-standing social networks. “Grassroots advocacy and native civic engagement and not extractive industries campaign contributions should be the primary factor in the direction of the Department of the Interior,” said Judith LeBlanc, executive director of the Native Organizers Alliance, which as part of a effort in which American Indians have sent tens of thousands of letters to senators asking for confirmation of Haaland. He added: “It goes without saying how important this moment is to indigenous peoples around the world. For an indigenous woman, assuming this role means that real change is taking place. It reflects an acknowledgment of the long history of systemic racism. ”A Laguna Pueblo member, Haaland has become a progressive advocate through her advocacy for tribal communities, as well as the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to phase out emissions of US greenhouse gases, a quarter of which are currently generated on public lands. “For us, their confirmation means progress toward environmental, racial and economic justice,” said Ellen Sciales, spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement, a juvenile justice organization. But while Haaland may participate in protests like the Dakota Access pipeline that threatens the land and water of the Standing Rock tribe, his supporters say he has enough bipartisan bona fides to lead a department with 70,000 members. of staff managing about a fifth of the American landmass. nte the partisan era of Trump, ”said Jade Begay, member of the Tesuque Pueblo and Navajo Nation and director of the NDN Collective’s climate justice campaign. “She is a skilled politician who knows how to work across party lines, and a lot of influence. [department] policies are about relationships between communities that disagree, such as the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists. We need someone who is a skilled bridge builder and that is what Deb Haaland is. “Haaland with Don Young from Alaska before the hearing. Photograph: Reuters Even Don Young, a US Republican representative known for his acceptance from the fossil fuel industry who told the hearing that “you have to be on marijuana” to think that oil and gas will be phased out, said he supported Haaland’s nomination policy after working productively with it. ” She has worked with me. She has crossed the aisle and, as a member of this administration, I know she will do a good job, “said the Alaska legislator.” Respectfully, I want you to listen to her. Understand that there is a big picture. ” Haaland’s nomination, and the hurdles it faces once confirmed, may well illustrate the overall climate challenge in miniature.Will the United States pull off the trick of rapidly switching to renewables while Does ras bring with it workers who risk being left behind, or will it remain umbilically attached to extractive industries that ruin the climate, water supplies and people’s health? Climate activists hope Haaland will help achieve the former. “She understands the science behind climate change and the urgent need to change our priorities,” said Sharon Buccino, director of lands for the National Resource Defense Council. “Their opponents are trapped in the past; we must look to other sources of energy besides oil and gas to offer a secure and prosperous energy future.”

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