Top 10 Questions for DOI Nominee Deb Haaland

America’s newfound energy dominance could be in peril if promises of unrealistic, expensive energy policies are implemented.

WASHINGTON DC (February 22, 2021) – Today, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) issued its top ten suggested questions for the Department of Interior nominee Representative Deb Haaland for tomorrow’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing. The Department of Interior oversees America’s vast federal public lands and is arguably the most important federal department determining the fate of America’s energy production—and energy future.

AEA President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement ahead of the hearing:

“Americans should be very concerned about President Biden’s radical choice for the Department of the Interior. Representative Haaland has made disparaging comments not only about domestic oil and natural gas production, but also about the workers themselves. She has made clear her opposition to the technology of fracking and the construction of new pipelines. As a representative from New Mexico, she should know better. Her state depends on oil and gas production on federal lands to support schools, build roads, and support first responders. She is simply the wrong choice for the Department of Interior.”

Top Ten Questions from the American Energy Alliance:

  1. As one of the sponsors of the 100% Clean Economy Act of 2019, you have publicly stated your support for achieving 100% renewable energy and proposals like the Green New Deal.
  1. A recent cold snap in Texas, which neighbors your home state of New Mexico, exposed an over-reliance on intermittent renewable energy sources that cannot deliver when it’s needed the most. Half of the wind turbines froze, causing wind’s share of electricity to plunge to 8% from 42%. As a result, power prices in the wholesale market spiked, and millions of Texans lost power and at least twenty-three have died.
    • Is there anything you’d like to say to these Texans and their families?
  1. The U.S. Treasury has estimated that the Production Tax Credit that funds wind power will cost taxpayers $40.12 billion from 2018 to 2027, making it the most expensive energy subsidy under current tax law. To date, wind only contributes about 7.3% of total U.S. utility-scale electricity generation according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA.)
    • Do you think this ratio of subsidy to wind generation is a fair return on investment for U.S. taxpayers? If so, why? If not, would you support ending subsidies for wind power generation?
  1. China used more cement in just three years than the U.S. did in the entire 20th century. Last year, they increased their coal plant capacity by more than three times the amount the entire rest of the world did. They make over half the world’s steel and use over half the world’s coal, nearly 5 times that of the U.S. This year, for the first time in 150 years, they will surpass the U.S. in refinery capacity. They also control the world’s supply chain for rare earth elements and strategic and critical minerals necessary for renewable energy like solar panels, windmills and batteries. In fact, the U.S. is nearly four times more dependent on them for minerals critical for these technologies than we ever were on the Middle East for oil imports.
    • Is this impending reliance on China something that concerns you?
  1. As a 35th generation New Mexican and member of Pueblo of Laguna west of Albuquerque, you likely recognize and support the ability for tribes to act in their own best interest and as a sovereign nation including establishing casinos as a means of revenue. Yet, you have been an outward critic of oil and gas development on public lands and the use of hydraulic fracturing, a technique that has been safely performed millions of times and largely credited with unlocking America’s shale reserves.
    • How would you respond to tribes like the Ute Indian Tribe in Utah who have developed the oil and gas on their tribal lands using hydraulic fracturing?
    • Are they wrong for pursuing the natural resources on their lands?
    • Would you seek to end their oil and gas development on their sovereign soil? And if so, where you would suggest their redirect their economy which is reliant on oil and natural gas development?
  1. In 2017, you wrote that “fracking is a danger to the air we breathe and water we drink” and “auctioning off of our land for fracking and drilling serves only to drive profits to the few.”
    • Thanks to oil and gas development, your home state of New Mexico received $2.8 billion in revenue last year, roughly a third of the state’s general funds. Of that money, a third to half came from operations on federal land. These funds are then used to support schools, build roads and support first responders.
    • Do you not consider this revenue, and the services they support, a benefit to New Mexico? How would your home state be able to make up that huge shortfall in the budget were you to eliminate oil and gas production on federal lands?
    • Furthermore, the Wyoming Energy Authority estimates that the West would lose $670 billion over twenty years if President Biden’s 60-day moratorium on new oil-and-gas leases were converted to a ban on oil and gas development on federal lands.
    • What would your plan be to replace these jobs and revenue in New Mexico and across other Western states?
  1. Along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you claim to have been among the thousands gathered in North Dakota to support protestors’ efforts to block the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
    • Were you paid or financially compensated by any organization for your time or expenses for this protest?
    • Approximately 24,000 tons of trash were reportedly left behind after this “environmental” protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and many stayed in petroleum-based lodging like yurts and cooked and stayed warm and cooked with natural gas-based fuels like propane.
    • Are you able to summarize your environmental impact during your stay for this pipeline protest?
  1. According to a Congressional Research Service report, the federal government owns roughly 640 million acres, about 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States. Four major federal land management agencies manage 606.5 million acres of this land, or about 95% of all federal land in the United States. In addition, the US owns 1.76 billion acres of offshore mineral estate, for a total of around 2.4 billion acres of mineral estate. This amount of land interest is larger than all countries in the world except Russia and Canada.
    • Do you support the U.S. government owning so much land?
    • Which level of government do you think is best suited to manage these lands – state or federal?
  1. Thanks in part to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. oil industry now pumps about 12 million barrels a day overall, and shale-oil companies account for about 8 million barrels of that total—roughly 8% to 10% of the global supply of oil. We are no longer reliant on unfriendly or unstable nations for its energy.
    • Unfriendly foreign leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin have used energy as a weapon, threatening to turn off natural gas to neighboring nations like Ukraine.
    • As the child of two parents who served in the U.S. military, what is your view on energy security and responsibilities to our allies overseas?
    • If America is able to aid our allies with plentiful, affordable natural gas, what would your message be to nations like Ukraine when denying them natural gas (in the form of delivered liquified natural gas – LNG)?
  1. As a small business owner yourself, you have firsthand knowledge of the role regulations can play in when trying to keep a business afloat.
    • What is your view on the federal government’s regulatory role? What should it do, and just as importantly, what shouldn’t it do?

Rep. Deb Haaland’s confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30am EST on February 23, 2021 in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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