Interior secretary’s daughter member of group that participated in violent protest at Interior headquarters
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s daughter belongs to a grassroots environmental group that participated in a violent protest at the Department of the Interior (DOI) headquarters in late 2021.
The top Biden official’s daughter Somah Haaland is a media organizer for the New Mexico-based Pueblo Action Alliance which has repeatedly called on the federal government to take drastic measures halting oil and gas development on public lands. According to government watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT), members from the group attended the October 2021 protest which led to multiple injuries among DOI security personnel and at least one hospitalization.
“With the connections of members of DOI leadership to groups many consider on the radical fringes of the environmental movement, it’s not surprising the Department might consider such organizations to be their friends and attempt to downplay the potential for situations to get out of hand,” said PPT Director Michael Chamberlain.
“But the circumstances around the riot at Interior headquarters represent yet another instance in which an administration that promised a return to normalcy is producing anything but,” he added. “Meanwhile, the American public’s trust in its government continues its precipitous decline.”
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The violent protest at the Stewart Lee Udall building, the DOI headquarters, took place on Oct. 14, 2021, during a week in which climate activists had planned several rallies calling on the Biden administration to implement aggressive actions to combat global warming. During the protest, activists attempted to infiltrate the DOI building leading to several injuries among security personnel and one officer being transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
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In a statement following the violent protest, a DOI spokesperson downplayed the situation, saying the agency “believes strongly in respecting and upholding the right to free speech and peaceful protest” and would continue “to do everything we can to deescalate the situation while honoring first amendment rights.”
While Interior officials also expressed shock at the protest, internal agency communications obtained this week by PPT showed that officials from the DOI, Department of Homeland Security, National Park Service and Metropolitan Police Department coordinated security efforts ahead of the protest which activists said would include “civil disobedience” measures.
For example, in one message, U.S. Park Police told DOI security officials that they should be “bit more vigilant” ahead of the protest.
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And DOI Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs Shantha Ready-Alonso met with protest leaders who gave her a flash drive one day before the protest. Ready-Alonso had been invited to attend a press conference outside the DOI building organized by environmental groups, but the event was canceled over security concerns, the internal communications showed.
Speakers from the Greater Chaco Coalition, a group that includes Somah Haaland’s Pueblo Action Alliance, was one of the lead event organizers.
Meanwhile, in December, Somah Haaland was one of several activists to travel to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers to support a federal moratorium on oil and gas leasing near a Native American historical site in New Mexico. She and the other activists argued that drilling near the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico would cause irreparable damage to local communities and the environment.
However, her involvement in the lobbying push sparked concerns that there was a conflict of interest since her mother would have the final say in a decision on the moratorium. Activists have called for a moratorium halting drilling within 10 miles of the site while industry groups and locals have supported five-mile compromise.
“In our comments on the withdrawal, we pointed out the conflict of interest Secretary Haaland already has as a member of a Puebloan nation that is advocating for the 10-mile buffer,” Kathleen Sgamma, the president of the Western Energy Alliance, told Fox News Digital in December. “Her daughter actively lobbying for the buffer highlights the conflict of interest and lack of discretion.”
Sgamma added that it appeared “Secretary Haaland’s interests and kinship ties are clouding her ability to make a reasoned, balanced decision.”
Somah Haaland and the DOI didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Source: Fox News