HAALAND: New Mexico U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, is confirmed as Interior Secretary, making her the first Native American to lead a cabinet agency. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• Native American leaders in California and New Mexico welcome Haaland’s confirmation, but some have misgivings about her ability to effect lasting change to an agency with a long history of harming Indigenous peoples. (Farmington Daily Times, Los Angeles Times)
Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan were among the four Republicans supporting Haaland, while senators from Wyoming and Colorado did not vote on the confirmation. (Alaska Public Media, Senate.gov)

COAL:
• A Wyoming environment and natural resources expert says Gov. Mark Gordon’s challenge to the state to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is “far too optimistic” as deploying carbon capture at scale is fraught with difficulties. (E&E News)
• A New Mexico bill authorizing the state to create a fund to pay for long-term reclamation in case a mine operator defaults passed the state Senate unanimously. (Los Alamos Daily Post)

EFFICIENCY: Three California investor-owned utilities are among those calling on the U.S. Department of Energy to continue with setting appliance standards and ensuring agency rules save energy. (Utility Dive)

OIL & GAS:
Records appear to show that oil and gas emissions increased significantly in New Mexico last year, raising concerns about air pollution statewide, and in the Permian Basin especially. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)
A Bay Area activist investor names four Exxon Mobil Corp directors it wants shareholders to remove. (Reuters)

POLICY:
A proposed New Mexico bill that would allow anyone to make a claim against businesses for pollution violations has small businesses worried. (Durango Herald)
A number of key climate change bills are still alive in the Washington legislature as state lawmakers reach the middle of the 2021 session. (South Seattle Emerald)

PUBLIC LANDS:
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham asks the Biden administration to consider the state’s clean energy progress and grant “energy transition credit” when crafting new federal policies on oil and gas leasing and permitting on federal lands. (Albuquerque Journal)
Arizona U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva introduces a federal bill that would cancel the transfer of land in Arizona sacred to Native Americans to mining companies. (E&E News, subscription)

CLIMATE: A study of 20 Southwest urban areas finds that low income areas lacking trees and shade are enduring more extreme heat, particularly those with large Latino populations. (Arizona Republic)

TRANSPORTATION:
An exploration of the battle over a remote northern Nevada lithium mine shows that having a fully domestic lithium supply chain will not be easy to achieve. (Grist)
The city of Tempe, Arizona, takes delivery of its first streetcar using a lithium-ion battery onboard energy storage system, enabling it to operate in areas lacking an overhead line. (Railway Age)

SOLAR: A Washington town is incorporating solar power in an affordable housing project. (Daily Record-News)

COMMENTARY:
The former president and publisher of an Idaho media organization says U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson’s proposal to breach four Lower Snake River dams has far-reaching benefits, particularly for the future needs of the Pacific Northwest. (Post Register)
A Wyoming wildlife biologist and conservationist says the Indigenous vision for protecting Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument should be prioritized over mining interests. (CounterPunch)

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Lisa Ellwood

Lisa is a Lenape and Nanticoke Native American freelance journalist, editor and writer currently based in the U.K. She has more than two decades’ experience working in corporate communications and print and digital media. She compiles the Western Energy News daily email digest. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University; her specializations include data journalism and visualization. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Union of Journalists (U.K.).