Cutting Through Big Oil’s Attacks on Deb Haaland

Congresswoman Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of the Interior, is a fierce climate champion with a strong record of progressive climate action and environmental justice advocacy. If confirmed, Haaland will be the first Indigenous individual to run the Interior Department and a cornerstone partner for Biden’s plans to build back better by creating a clean energy economy, creating millions of jobs and protecting our clean air, water, and public lands. Haaland has promised to end the corruption of the Trump administration that favored oil and gas CEOs to instead focus on building a sustainable future.

This, unsurprisingly, has Big Oil terrified. In response, fossil fuel executives and their allies in Congress are running a campaign to dirty Haaland’s nomination by repeating debunked lies and undermining her (strong) qualifications.

But, it is critical to remember that these fossil fuel executives and their allies in Congress are not good-faith actors whose words and opposition cannot be taken at face value. The truth is, the industry’s attacks on Haaland are a component of a broader effort to secure their profit margins by stopping any progress on climate action.

OIL AND GAS-BACKED POLITICIANS ATTACKING HAALAND ARE SHILLING THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY’S TALKING POINTS. 

  • These members of Congress are repeating Big Oil’s tired lie that Haaland would kill jobs. This is simply not true. The climate action proposed by Haaland and the Biden administration will create millions of good-paying union jobs. Plus, Haaland has a record of prioritizing job creation in New Mexico
    • What Big Oil and their allies don’t want people to know is that clean energy is the fastest-growing energy industry in the U.S. Clean energy jobs pay well above the national average, have good benefits, and can’t be outsourced.
    • Clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs — and will only continue to grow during the Biden administration. In 30 states and the District of Columbia, there are more solar and wind energy jobs than coal and gas jobs. 
  • The oil and gas industry has given millions of dollars to dozens of  congressional Republicans who in turn serve as messengers to spew their anti-climate talking points, including a group of 15 GOP House members who led a failed attempt to pressure Biden to withdraw Haaland’s nomination.
  • During Haaland’s confirmation, climate deniers in Congress will likely continue their false claims that she would “destroy” the energy industry. The reality is the U.S. could meet about 90% of its energy needs with wind, solar and storage alone.
    • Oil and gas companies claim Haaland will hurt their business, but in reality, they  accepted billions in government handouts while laying off 100,000 workers just last year. 
    • Even before the pandemic, the oil and gas industry was struggling with excessive debt and had begun laying off employees all while major oil and gas CEOs were getting paid tens of millions of dollars in bonuses and salaries.
      • Marathon Petroleum took a $1.2 billion tax write-off under the COVID-19 CARES Act, but still announced in September plans to lay off 12% of its workforce. Meanwhile, Marathon’s CEO was paid $14.05 million in 2019. 
      • Chevron benefitted from a $134 million tax writeoff under the COVID-19 CARES Act at a recently-acquired subsidiary,  and was one of four oil and gas corporations that the Federal Reserve helped prop up through $18 million in bond purchases. That didn’t stop them from laying off 10-15% of their workforce while paying the CEO $33.1 million in 2019

HAALAND HAS A PROVEN PRO-CLIMATE RECORD. THAT IS PRECISELY WHY BIG OIL, AND THE POLITICIANS THEY FUND, ARE WORKING OVERTIME TO ATTACK HER.

  • Haaland served as vice-chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and led a coalition in introducing aggressive land and ocean conservation legislation.
  • Haaland also introduced a bill to expand access to public lands. Along with Sen. Cory Booker, Haaland introduced a $100 billion plan to clean up legacy pollution that disproportionately impacts Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. 
  • In February 2020, Haaland led a diverse coalition to introduce the “Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature,” advocating for the U.S. to conserve at least 30% of the country’s ocean and land by 2030

HAALAND WOULD BE THE FIRST INDIGENOUS PERSON TO SERVE IN THE CABINET. THIS IS HISTORIC AND WOULD BRING UNPRECEDENTED FOCUS TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

  • Haaland’s leadership at Interior will mark a needed change from the Trump administration, which put fossil fuel interests and profits ahead of Indigenous communities’ rights to clean air, water, and sacred lands.
  • While in Congress, Haaland introduced a bill requiring Interior and Agriculture to prepare an interagency report on special recreation permits in environmental justice communities. Haaland said, “Equal access to natural areas and open lands is a right that everyone holds. However, low-income communities across the U.S. are consistently denied access to these natural treasures and the benefits that public lands provide.”

The jobs of the future are here NOW. This is our moment to act on climate change and build a clean energy economy that creates millions of good-paying jobs.

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