Haaland begins work of reversing Trump's pro-fossil fuel, anti-climate agenda

New orders reverse a dozen oil and gas-friendly policies, establish Climate Task Force
Caribou range on the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska
Caribou range on the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (photo: Bob Wick/BLM).

Conservation and environmental groups are lauding an order issued by the newly appointed Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, which reverses a slew of pro-fossil fuel actions enacted by Interior secretaries Ryan Zinke and David Bernhardt during the Trump administration. According to Haaland, the actions of her predecessors were “inconsistent with the department’s commitment to protect public health; conserve land, water, and wildlife; and elevate science.”

Secretary Haaland’s order reversed a dozen actions taken by the Trump administration which blatantly sought to increase profits for the oil and gas industry, including DOI orders that attempted to increase coal mining on public lands, made it harder for states to block oil and gas pipelines; threatened marine sanctuaries by increasing offshore drilling; sought to increase drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, weakened the National Environmental Policy Act; expedited the permitting process for oil, gas and mining projects on public lands; and more.

The agency’s actions under the Trump administration, Haaland said, “tilted the balance of public land and ocean management without regard for climate change, equity or community engagement.”

Colin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation applauded the new administration's efforts towards “rescinding the previous administration’s orders that encouraged unfettered drilling in ecologically and culturally sensitive areas” and suggested that “these orders show that Secretary Haaland and President Biden are serious about fulfilling their promises on climate and working collaboratively with states and communities to conserve and restore our public lands and waters for future generations.”

Kristen Miller, conservation director at Alaska Wilderness League, said the orders "are another important step toward restoring scientific integrity, meaningful public process, and the longstanding stewardship responsibilities for America's public lands and waters at the Department of Interior. This is the type of bold and visionary leadership we need if we're to effectively fight climate change, tackle the extinction crisis, and prioritize environmental justice and tribal consultation."

In a tweet, the Western Values Project celebrated Haaland’s actions, stating that “Little by little the toxic Trump environmental legacy is being overturned.”

In addition to rescinding a slate of pro-extraction Trump administration actions, Haaland also issued Secretarial Order 3399, which establishes a Climate Task Force with the Department of Interior.

According to the order, “The Nation faces a profound climate crisis that requires the Department of the Interior to take a holistic approach to honor the Nation’s trust responsibilities; address the climate crisis; advance environmental justice; and build a clean energy future that creates good-paying jobs and powers our Nation.” The order also provides instruction on how science may be used in the agency decision-making and clarifies various Interior department policies, with the goal of improving public transparency regarding that process.

"I know that signing secretarial orders alone won't address the urgency of the climate crisis. But I'm hopeful that these steps will help make clear that we, as a department, have a mandate to act,” Haaland said.


Haaland is a a terrible choice for Interior secretary. These steps may well be good steps for the environment but given enough time, Haaland will facilitate turning public land over to various Indian tribes thereby making that land unavailable for use by non-Indians. The errosion of public lands to Indians has been constant thru my 40 years living in the west. Having Haaland in this position will accerate that errosion.

Do you have any evidence to support that statement? She is an excellent choice, bold, progressive and finally, not a corporate insider. You statement is laughable if you look at it though the context of history. Which communities have been removed from their lands? Which rivers have been dammed and salmon runs destroyed? And you are complaining?

We had wars with the Natives. We won. Somehow in our greatness we allowed them to keep sovereign territory. Hasn't happened anywhere else in the world we allow people to remain sovereign after losing a war.

We didn't "have wars" with the indigenous populations in North America. It wasn't a millennia-old skirmish over long disputed territories. We invaded lands long occupied by others and commit genocide against their people. That isn't "greatness," it's a dark, abhorrent, permanent stain on the nation.

Thank goodness for Secretary Haaland!

She grew up in a military family (so did I). Her father was a 30 yr combat Marine, awarded the Silver Star Medal for saving 6 lives in Vietnam, and he's buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Her Mother's also a Navy veteran. She experienced REAL patriotism in her family life. Secretary Haaland has also run her own business, she's well educated, and one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. She's a smart hard-working woman and my family and I are thrilled that she's the Secretary of the Interior.

Sad we must endure this constant destructive rage from the Rightwingers. Would that we change the situation where in they prosper and harm at the expense of the nation over and over.

I hate how liberal the editors are in this magazine.

The good news is, there is no shortage of other magazines for you to read.

Maybe like sports stick your craft. This isn't politico so keep your political opinions to yourself. I don't give a care to know what your thoughts are on policy. Rather what fly patterns should i be tying or where should i be visiting. Stick to fishing


How can you avoid politics when it stands to impact the fish we are after? What good will it due to know the right fly pattern if there is nothing to take it? I do not want to be passive aggressive, I am generally interested in your logic? Trout need cold clean water and estimates to loss of viable habitat are grim with the expected impact of climate change. No real scientists doubt the ramifications of climate change and its potential to create conditions that are at least unstable and threaten many organisms including us eventually.

Leave the politics out of fly fishing please. If I want to hear a bunch of woke socialist crap I can turn on CNN or MSNBC.

I do not like woke culture as it is a senseless push to towards moral superiority. I think it contradicts human nature in many ways. The best way to learn sometimes is by making mistakes and I think that we need to allow to people to learn from mistakes. I do not see how this article is "woke socialist crap". I would be interested on why you believe it is. To me this article is about protecting and conserving areas with unique wildlife. Oil and gas is not the way of the future and with climate change it is imperative that we reduce greenhouse gases. Are you concerned with climate change? What type of fish do you mostly go after? I am not trying to be hostile, I am generally curious about your perspective.