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Joe Biden. Photo: Jim Watson / Getty Images

President-elect Biden is considering two New Mexicans to be Interior secretary, which could provide an early test to his promise to end new energy drilling on federal land.

Why it matters: New Mexico is a Democratic state where oil and gas production is crucial to the local economy, and the next Interior secretary — with both retiring Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Deb Haaland in the running — will be charged with implementing Biden’s proposed ban.

The big picture: Udall is the nephew of the late Rep. Mo Udall, a former chair of the House Interior Committee, and son of former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall. Haaland is a Native American whose candidacy is backed by tribal leaders, as Axios' Alexi McCammond reported last week.

  • While Haaland has been a leading candidate, there are increasing concerns from House leaders about reducing the Democrats' already-narrow margin in the chamber by tapping a member for the Cabinet.
  • New Mexico’s governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, who already turned down the Interior job, said in September she would ask Biden for a waiver from any ban on new permits.

By the numbers: New Mexico accounts for 57% of federal onshore oil production and 31% of onshore natural gas production, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

  • Roughly $3 billion, or close to 40% of the state’s budget, comes from oil and gas revenue.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to the late Rep. Mo Udall as a senator.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Takeaways from Biden's sweeping order on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's mammoth executive order on climate policy weighs in at over 7,500 words and resists any single narrative, but I've got a few initial takeaways.

Why it matters: The order aims to marshal the entire federal government behind new initiatives, so that means agencies that may not have the muscle memory or expertise of the resource and environmental branches like EPA and DOE.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.