Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced Wednesday that he will support the nomination of Democratic New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior.
“I believe Deb Haaland will be a Secretary of the Interior for every American and will vote to confirm her. I look forward to working with her to protect our public lands and ensure the responsible use of all our natural resources in a bipartisan manner,” Manchin, an important vote for Democratic proposals with the Senate split 50-50, said.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 24, 2021
Haaland, if confirmed, would be the first Native American Secretary of the Interior since the department was created in 1849. Haaland was a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and once promised to vote against any legislation that created new infrastructure for fossil fuel production.
As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland would be responsible for implementing President Joe Biden’s energy policy. Biden has already announced a 60 day moratorium on oil and gas projects on federal lands. He also revoked a permit for the Keystone Pipeline, suspending that project.
Manchin’s home state of West Virginia produces 12% of all US coal, according to the Department of Energy. It is the second-largest coal producer, the fifth-largest energy producer, and the seventh-largest natural gas producer in the country, according to the West Virginia Development Office.