Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) grilled Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Department of the Interior (DOI), on her thoughts about wildlife management during a confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Daines asked Haaland about the Endangered Species Act and whether she supports returning wildlife management to the states during an Energy Committee hearing on Haaland’s qualifications to serve as DOI secretary. Haaland said that science should “of course” serve as the basis for those decisions.
The Montana conservative asked Haaland if she knew the Grizzly Bear’s recovery period in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, to which she said that she did not.
Daines said in response that the “most conservative estimate” reveals the grizzly bear population is well above the recovery period to take the bear species off of the endangered species list and allow states such as Montana to better manage their wildlife.
He further noted that, despite the grizzly bear’s population growth, Haaland cosponsored legislation providing federal protections to grizzly bears “in perpetuity.”
Daines asked Haaland, “Why would you sponsor a bill like that when the science tells us the bear numbers are well above the recovery target?”
“Uh, I imagine at the time I was caring about the bears,” Haaland responded.
Daines also said during the hearing that he remains concerned with advancing Haaland’s nomination.
“The track record, the ideology in the past, I think, will perpetuate more divisiveness and will certainly harm Montana’s economy. That’s why I have some concerns,” he said.
“Puzzling how the Congresswoman wasn’t better prepared for this question as grizzly management was discussed in our one on one meeting, and how she also has cosponsored legislation related to it,” Daines told Breitbart News in an exclusive comment. “The Congresswoman’s failure to commit to science and delist the grizzly for public safety and wildlife habitat is very concerning.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.