For Immediate Release

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As Energy Committee Votes on Haaland Nomination, Opposition Is Coming From Members Who Have Taken More Than $8 Million From Big Oil

Republican members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee have been staunch opponents of the confirmation of Congresswoman Deb Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior.

The same members opposed to Haaland have collectively taken millions from the oil and gas industry, including over $1.4 million from the 2020 cycle alone.

These senators have oversight of the very same industries that have bankrolled their campaigns with millions of dollars, including the fossil fuel industry that they have so adamantly defended throughout the hearings.

WASHINGTON - Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee will vote on the confirmation of Congresswoman Deb Haaland for secretary of the Department of the Interior. After a long battle including days of hostile hearings and smear campaigns in the media, Accountable Senate War Room is calling on Senate Republicans to support Haaland’s nomination once and for all, and to stop obstructing her confirmation to appease their Big Oil donors. 

“In her confirmation hearings, Congresswoman Haaland showed the country who she is: an environmentalist, a fierce advocate for her community, and a proven bipartisan leader who has earned the support of some of her most conservative colleagues, including Rep. Don Young from Alaska, and will bring that same willingness to work with others as Interior secretary,” said Mairead Lynn, spokesperson for Accountable Senate War Room. “Combined with the enormous sums of money Senate Republicans have taken from the oil and gas industry, it’s easy to see why the outrageous attacks launched against her fell flat. Haaland has already earned bipartisan support and those who continue to oppose her nomination in the name of their Big Oil donors shouldn’t be taken seriously.”

Below are the contributions that top Republican members of the ENR Committee have accepted from the oil and gas industry:

Those same Senate Republicans have been publicly against Haaland’s confirmation:

Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY):

  • Said he was “troubled by many of Representative Haaland’s views,” which he characterized as “radical” [The Guardian, 2/26/2021
  • “[Haaland’s] radical views are squarely at odds with the responsible management of our nation’s energy resources.” [WaPo, 2/9/2021]
  • Got hostile with Haaland during her confirmation hearing and “shouted over” her, then accused the congresswoman of “wanting to legalize drugs to replace tax revenue from oil and gas” [WaPo, 2/25/2021]

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT):

  • Daines claimed he was “deeply concerned with the Congresswoman's support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America." 
  • The Billings Gazette Editorial Board deemed Daines’ attacks as a racist, sexist “dogwhistle” [2/21/2021]
  • Even before the hearing, Daines threatened to block her nomination, citing her support for the Green New Deal and a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal land, as well as her opposition to Keystone XL. [The Guardian, 2/26/2021]
  • Called on Haaland to “respect the science,” after previously denouncing the role humans have in climate change [WaPo, 2/25/2021]

Senator James Risch (R-ID):

  • Risch repeatedly badgered Haaland on her stance on the Keystone XL pipeline after she had answered the questions several times over. [WICZ, 2/24/2021

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Senator Mike Lee (R-UT):

  • Lee’s questioning of Haaland, what was referred to as a “lecture” by the Salt Lake Tribune, revolved around her thoughts on the designation of Bears Ears as a national monument, and aggressively cut the Congresswoman off while she was giving the state of Utah a compliment.

Senator John Hoeven (R-ND):

  • Criticized Haaland for her past environmental advocacy relating to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which risks leaking dirty oil into the water supply and sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. [The Guardian, 2/26/2021
  • Hoeven said he was concerned for his state’s economy but failed to disclose his own substantial investments in the oil and gas industry, including in North Dakota. [The Guardian, 2/26/2021

Senator James Lankford (R-OK):

  • Lankford went after Haaland for her previous comments about fracking and the construction of pipelines, and justifying his decision to vote against Haaland because of her “commitment to an unrealistic energy reality.” [James Lankford, 2/24/2021
  • In 2010, Lankford called global warming a "myth" and said it will eventually be "exposed" as "a way of control more than anything else.” [Business Insider, 2/24/2021]

Senator John Cassidy (R-LA): 

  • The Senator took every opportunity to throw Haaland’s previous comments about Republicans not believing in science back in her face, asking her "will your department be guided by a prejudice against fossil fuel or will it be guided by science?" [HuffPost, 2/24/2021
  • He went on to accuse the Biden administration of rejecting science, claiming “clearly the Biden administration is not guided by science, and Republicans are guided by science."
  • Cassidy is on the record rejecting the idea that human activity is “a significant contributor” to climate change even though this is well-established by the scientific community [HuffPost, 2/24/2021]
  • Cassidy is also on the record defending Trump’s erroneous claim suggesting that you can treat COVID-19 by ingesting disinfectants, obfuscating Trump of any responsibility claiming that “The president speaks in such a way, people are not going to inject themselves [with Lysol].” [HuffPost, 2/24/2021]

Accountable Senate War Room released an analysis that reveals that Republican senators targeted nominees of color with harsher language, often referring to them as “radical” compared to their white counterparts, and another report revealing that Biden’s Cabinet nominees of color face tougher scrutiny throughout the confirmation process than their white colleagues. 

Senate Republicans’ attacks of Haaland have largely fallen flat: 

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Nonpartisan watchdog group Accountable.US recently launched the Accountable Senate War Room to fight back against those lawmakers who seek to overturn the will of the people by standing in the way of the smooth transition of power and the swift approval of nominees to ensure that the government can function and advance the interests of all American people, not just the rich and powerful.

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