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Press Release

Haaland Fails to Answer for Reckless Spending and Anti-American Energy Agenda

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Today, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources on the administration's Fiscal Year 2024 budget, her first time before the committee in nearly two years. Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"At every turn, the Biden administration has opposed pro-growth policies and American energy production through blanket bans and limited lease sales. Not only do these bans on energy and mining contribute to our skyrocketing inflation, but they also jeopardize our national security and fund our adversaries. It’s not just energy, either; this administration continues limiting access to federal lands, sits back while wildfires burn out of control and refuses to take long-term action on western water issues. Yet even as DOI continues to do less work, its budget continues to increase at an alarming rate, with little to no explanation for how and where our taxpayer dollars are spent. Today marks another important step in our work to hold Washington accountable and protect the American taxpayer from further waste, fraud and abuse by this administration."


Today's hearing focused on the Biden administration's budget request for DOI, totaling $35.5 billion. Since Haaland's last appearance before the House Committee on Natural Resources, DOI has received $34.7 billion in funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. This influx totals $7.5 billion more than DOI received for all of Fiscal Year 2021. The committee will continue to conduct rigorous oversight of these funds and provide transparency for the American people.

Even while the Biden administration has funneled historic amounts of money to DOI, the agency has failed to address significant issues like drought and water infrastructure. The Fiscal Year 2024 budget request does little to address the water storage capacity in western states, many of which are currently dealing with the threat of flooding during this spring's snow melt. 

Furthermore, the committee is working to understand how money is being spent by DOI and whether DOI officials are actually doing the jobs they have been hired to do. Despite billions of dollars of investment in reducing deferred maintenance backlogs under former President Donald Trump, the National Park Service's backlog has increased by more than $10 billion in the last two years. 

As DOI continues to wage war on American energy, they are actively hurting hardworking families across the country. While DOI officials refuse to hold regular leasing sales and hold back domestic energy production, American workers and their families must shoulder the burden of record high energy costs.

Today's hearing is another step forward in the committee's work to provide transparency. This work will continue throughout the 118th Congress.

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