Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of the Interior, won’t say if she will recuse herself from any decisions related to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Haaland, a Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico, participated in a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline project in the past.
“The reason I did that is because I agreed with the tribe that they felt that they were not consulted in the best way,” she said during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday
before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “I know that tribal consultation is important, and that was the reason I was there.”
North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven said the pipeline has been “operating safely” for 3 years, but the Army Corps of Engineers is conducting an environmental impact study of the project to comply with a court order.
Hoeven asked Haaland if she will “commit” to recusing herself from any of the department’s decisions related to the project to avoid a conflict of interest.
“There are attorneys at the Department of the Interior and also ethics folks,” she said. “If I am confirmed, of course I will heed the advice of those attorneys and the ethics office for any issues where there might be any of those conflicts.