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Press Release

America in Jeopardy: Haaland Fails to Answer for Disastrous Policies and Unchecked Spending

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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 Biden administration's Fiscal Year 2025 budget. Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"America is in jeopardy, and we need to take immediate action. Congress holds the power of the purse, and we will not just rubber stamp an administration that completely disregards oversight authorities and the communities most impacted by their decisions. The Biden administration continues to recklessly spend American tax dollars with historically devastating results in communities across the country. Despite its claims to the contrary, at every turn, this administration is ignoring local voices and silencing community input in pursuit of a radical environmental agenda. Just this past month DOI threatened the entire western way of life by finalizing an anti-multiple-use rule, locked up a massive reserve of domestic energy in Alaska with blatant disregard for indigenous voices and dealt a crushing blow to American mineral production. Every community is now a border community, as we have seen illegal drug cartels target Indian lands, threatening their members with violence. The permitting logjam threatens infrastructure projects nationwide, and the regulatory headaches are made worse and worse by each rulemaking handed down by D.C. bureaucrats. Today is another critical step forward in our continued commitment to hold these bureaucrats accountable and put a stop to Biden's unchecked spending spree."

Background

While the Biden administration continues to funnel historically high amounts of money into DOI as they request $37.08 billion for FY2025, the agency has failed to address many significant issues and refuses to provide accountability for the funds, despite repeated congressional oversight requests. 

As one of the first legislative items of the 118th Congress, House Republicans passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, which would restore American energy independence and increase domestic production. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has routinely jeopardized American energy production by limiting development in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, in direct opposition to Alaska‚Äôs indigenous communities and the entire congressional delegation. The committee has been working on a solution. Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Chairman Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) previously introduced H.R. 6285, the Alaska's Right to Produce Act of 2023, which would reinstate the previously issued ANWR leases as required by law and cancel the proposed NPR-A rule. The House Committee on Natural Resources passed H.R. 6285 on Dec. 6, 2023 and is currently scheduled for a recorded vote by the full U.S. House of Representatives on the day of this release. 

The Biden administration has failed to address the crisis at our southern border and allowed the unchecked flow of migrants into our country. Dangerous cartels routinely use our federal and Indian lands for illicit activities, leading to significant environmental degradation. The Biden administration has attempted to cover up these policy failures by establishing a migrant encampment on national park land at Floyd Bennett Field in New York, but that plan has only proven to create another hotbed for criminal activity with no end in sight. 

DOI has also routinely ignored the voices of local communities and threatened the western way of life through executive overreaches and misguided rulemaking. The recently finalized public lands rule from the Bureau of Land Management would fundamentally alter the multiple use mandate established nearly 50 years ago. Thousands of Americans used the comment period to voice their opposition to this decision, yet their concerns went unheard. U.S. Rep. John Curtis (R-Utah) introduced the Western Economic Security Today (WEST) Act in May of 2023, shortly after BLM issued the proposed rule. This bill, which would nullify the rule, passed the House yesterday by a vote of 212-202.

Today's hearing is another step forward in the committee's work to provide transparency to the American people. This work will continue throughout the 118th Congress as the House Committee on Natural Resources conducts oversight on the disastrous policies of the Biden administration.

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