Concern, praise, hope expressed after Rep. Haaland's nomination to Interior secretary | KOB 4

Concern, praise, hope expressed after Rep. Haaland's nomination to Interior secretary

Megan Abundis
Updated: December 17, 2020 10:07 PM
Created: December 17, 2020 09:56 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Moments after new reports started surfacing about President-elect Joe Biden selecting Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the Interior Department, people began expressing their support and disappointment in the pick.

The department oversees America's land, water, wildlife, energy resources, and honors the nation's responsibility to tribal nations.

Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biology Diversity, a nonprofit that works to save endangered species, supports the appointment.

"We expect that she will be a very strong advocate for protecting public lands," he said.

However, Larry Behrens, a director with Power the Future, a group that pushes for oil and gas use while staying clean, said Haaland's appointment is not good for New Mexico. 

"It means nothing but disaster for New Mexico energy workers," Behrens claimed.

The executive director of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association is hoping the appointment will be beneficial.

"It's an incredibly important agency to states like New Mexico, where we have hundreds of millions of dollars being generated on federal lands that go directly to the state," Ryan Flynn said.

In 2019, New Mexico generated $800 million from revenue on federal public lands.

"We're going to give Rep. Haaland the benefit of doubt," Flynn said. "It's time for serious people to take center stage, put down their weapons and work together."

Flynn added that he won't back down from tough conversations, but he won't make his point by vilifying people.

"We hope that she will engage with us, and have productive conversations," he said. "We will understand what her concerns are, but ultimately we will be able to continue to demonstrate that we can take meaningful steps, ambitious steps to address climate change and to address these big issues, without abandoning an industry that necessary and vital to all of our daily lives."

In a statement, Rep. Haaland said she will protect public lands and move the country towards a clean energy future. However, she did not provide specifics about what impacts that plan will have on the oil and gas industry.

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