U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper met virtually on Tuesday with President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior, Deb Haaland, a Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico.
“Congresswoman Haaland is a historic nominee for Interior Secretary," said Hickenlooper afterward, referring to the fact that she would become the first Native American Cabinet secretary if confirmed. "She has a deep understanding and lived experience of how policy impacts our most vulnerable communities. And she shares Colorado’s love for the outdoors, a commitment to bipartisanship, and a desire to expand access to our public lands and boost our outdoor recreation economy."
Hickenlooper is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The committee's website has no scheduled confirmation hearing listed for Haaland.
According to the senator's summary of the meeting, the two talked about protecting and conserving natural resources, ensuring access to the outdoors for communities of color, and maintaining the Grand Junction headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management.
"I made the case that, done correctly, we can better protect and manage our public lands by having a BLM headquarters out west, Hickenlooper said. The Washington Post reported last month that the Trump administration's decision to relocate most staff at the public lands agency's headquarters to western Colorado prompted 87% of employees to retire or quit.
“It wasn’t a pleasant thing, seeing everyone forced to move," said one 42-year employee who left the BLM.