House Republicans grill Haaland on energy, public lands

By Michael Doyle | 05/01/2024 02:12 PM EDT

Republicans accused the administration of “using American communities as political pawns.”

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Wednesday. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Wednesday ran a Republican gantlet as the House Natural Resources Committee’s GOP members pressed her repeatedly on her department’s energy and public land actions.

Though the morning hearing was billed as a look at the Interior Department’s $17.8 billion budget request for fiscal 2025, dollars-and-cents questions played second fiddle to myriad policy disputes, some pointed criticisms and occasional flashes of irritation.

“Your agency continues to ignore local voices and pursue vague and ill-defined goals dictated by a radical agenda,” said Arkansas Republican Bruce Westerman, the committee’s chair, adding that “this administration treats policymaking as a game, using American communities as political pawns.”


Westerman, along with several other Republicans, blasted the Interior Department’s rejection last month of the proposed 211-mile Ambler Road in Alaska, which would have provided access to potential copper, zinc and other mineral deposits. Interior determined the road would harm wildlife and other environmental resources.