Big Sky Roundup

15 Montana groups add their name to Haaland support letter

By: - February 17, 2021 2:22 pm

Nominee for Secretary of Interior, Congresswoman Deb Haaland, speaks after President-elect Joe Biden announced his climate and energy appointments at the Queen theater on Dec. 19, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Haaland is the first Native American nominated to serve on the presidential cabinet. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

More than a dozen Montana organizations and groups have added their name to a letter started by The Wilderness Society which is urging the Senate to confirm former Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to become the next Secretary of the Department of The Interior.

Montana Sen. Steve Daines has said he will opposed Haaland’s nomination and on Tuesday, went so far as to suggest that if she’s confirmed as the top pick for Interior that more electrical and heat outages like the ones happening in Texas will occur.

The letter, which has more than 500 organizations on board, was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and the two highest ranking members on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Focusing on the work of combating climate change, the leaders also pointed out the Interior’s lack of communication and collaboration with Native nations.

“Over the last four years alone, the previous administration routinely neglected to properly consult tribal governments before proceeding with fossil fuel development projects, land management plans, lease sales, and rulemakings that degraded air and water across the nation. Given DOI’s track record of failing to consult with tribes or engage with Indigenous communities while enacting public lands policies against the better interests of Indigenous people, Rep. Haaland’s confirmation would be both an historic and much-needed step toward reckoning with a long and troubling legacy while building new, lasting, equitable achievements,” letter reads.

More than 500 organization signed onto the letter which was submitted on Tuesday. The Montana groups which joined are:

  • Montana Wilderness Association
  • Montana Wildlife Federation
  • Montana Conservation Voters
  • Western Native Voice
  • Yaak Valley Forest Council
  • Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument
  • Western Leaders Network
  • Watershed Protection Advocates of Northwest Montana
  • Western Resource Advocates
  • Northern Plains Resource Council
  • Montana Interfaith Power & Light
  • Buffalo Field Campaign
  • Montana Environmental Information Center
  • Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Bozeman Broadband
  • Save Our wild Salmon Coalition

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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming.