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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 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New Energy Department roles look to animate Biden's campaign themes

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The burst of Biden administration staffing picks announced yesterday revealed that the Energy Department (DOE) has newly created roles that reflect what President Biden called campaign priorities.

Driving the news: One new position is "director of energy jobs," which is being filled by Jennifer Jean Kropke. She was previously the first director of workforce and environmental engagement with Local 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

10 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

11 mins ago - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.