Senate GOP hails new Interior deputy Because'voice of reason'

The Senate easily supported former Obama government official Tommy Beaudreau as deputy secretary at the Interior Department on Thursday, a rare bipartisan moment in an increasingly bitter fight over President Joe Biden's policies on energy production and climate modification.

Senate GOP hails new Interior deputy Because'voice of reason'

Beaudreau, a lawyer and former Interior chief of staff, is widely regarded as a mild and was selected in April after Biden dropped plans for a more liberal nominee who confronted crucial Senate opposition.

His nomination was accepted on an 88-9 vote. Forty-one Republicans encouraged Beaudreau, along with 47 Democrats.

Murkowski and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat who currently heads the energy committee, said they were concerned that Biden's initial option, Elizabeth Klein, was too hostile to the oil and gas market.

Both lawmakers told the White House who Klein, a progressive who's a favorite of ecological groups, wouldn't be a sufficient counterweight to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a former Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico who has criticized the gas and oil market.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, stated he has been impressed with Beaudreau, who had been the first manager of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency created to oversee offshore drilling following the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at 2010.

"It is clear Mr. Beaudreau understands America's need for an all-of-the-above energy strategy,″ Barrasso said, adding that he expects Beaudreau"can function as a voice of reason in an administration that's waging a war on American energy employees. ″

Murkowski, who was among four GOP senators who voted in favor of Haaland, had made no secret of her aid for Beaudreau, mentioning his Alaska history and understanding of Interior Department problems.

Beaudreau"knows what happens within the section. He is grounded in just kind of the management and operation aspect of things, in addition to the policy side," she told E&E News.

Manchin also commended Beaudreau, saying he knows Interior's"dual mission of preserving and protecting our national parks and public lands and providing a massive part of the mineral and energy resources that we need to power the nation. ″

Interior has emerged as a flashpoint in the early days of the Biden administration, with Republicans frequently complaining that Biden's policies hurt electricity creation and jobs. Many Democrats support those same policies as necessary to combat climate change and encourage conservation of public lands.

Beaudreau's nomination was widely seen as an attempt by Biden to win favor with Murkowski, Manchin and other moderates who are essential to a host of Biden's priorities, such as his sweeping infrastructure and fresh energy bundle.

The vote for Beaudreau comes as Biden's nominee to manage federal lands in the West faces Republican pressure to withdraw over her ties to ecological activists convicted of trying to sabotage a national forest timber sale over 30 decades back.

Tracy Stone-Manning, nominated to direct Interior's Bureau of Land Management, ought to be disqualified over her collaboration with"intense environmental activists," Barrasso said.

As a 23-year-old graduate student at the University of Montana, Stone-Manning sent a letter to federal officials in 1989 stating spikes were inserted to trees at Idaho's Clearwater National Forest. The profanity-laced letter warned"lots of people could get hurt" if logging went, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press from federal archives.

Spiking trees involves inserting ceramic or metal rods into trunks in order that they can not be safely cut down, and the tactic has sometimes been used to halt timber sales.

Stone-Manning testified against two friends who were convicted in the case. She had been granted immunity and was not charged with any crime.

Stone-Manning did not respond to telephone and text messages last week seeking comment. A government official who was not allowed to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity said officials knew about the criminal case and Stone-Manning's testimony before her nomination.

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