Haaland seeks significant domestic budget increase, faces concerns from lawmakers over mining and drilling

The Ministry of the Interior request Congress for $ 17.6 billion next year, about $ 2.5 billion more than this year.

During audience Members of the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday broadly praised budget increases for the Office of Indian Affairs and efforts to address the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

However, some lawmakers want more money for water infrastructure, including storage and recycling, as the West faces a historic drought. There are also criticisms of the Biden administration’s pause on new oil and gas leases on public lands while it reviews them.

Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican, asked Secretary Deb Haaland about it.

“Are you planning a permanent production ban for new leases when the review is complete?” ” He asked.

“As I have said many times,” Haaland replied, “oil and gas production will continue well into the future, and we believe that is the reality of the economy and the world in which we let’s live. “

Idaho Republican Representative Russ Fulcher said the United States should not depend on other countries like China for fuels and rare earth metals.

“According to the USGS, China currently supplies 85 to 95 percent of our rare earth elements, and that’s problematic for a whole host of reasons,” he said.

Haaland says the interior review of fossil fuel development on public lands is expected to be released in early summer. Louisiana judge recently ordered for sales of drilling leases to resume, and Haaland said the agency was working on the implications of the decision.

Haaland also says the agency is still deciding what to do with the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management, which was moved from Washington, DC to Grand Junction, Colorado under the last administration.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in MT, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New -Mexico, with the support of affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Public broadcasting company.

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