In a letter publicly released today, Washington Wild joined nearly 500 national and regional organizations representing millions of people, including Native American, environmental justice, Western communities, and outdoor business in urging Senators in party and committee leadership to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior (DOI).
Haaland, a representative from New Mexico and a member of the Laguna Pueblo, is a historic pick by the Biden administration. The letter in support of her confirmation cites her considerable credentials on climate, conservation, and energy issues as a member of Congress, as well as the overdue need to have a Native American lead the cabinet agency given its historic injustices to tribal nations.
The DOI has failed to consult with Tribes or engage with Indigenous communities while enacting public lands policies against the better interests of Indigenous people. Rep. Haaland’s confirmation would mark a much-needed step toward reckoning with a troubling legacy while building new, equitable achievements.
Rep. Haaland has been a leader in pushing the U.S. to embrace a national goal of protecting 30 percent of lands and waters by the year 2030, which scientists say will help stem the ongoing extinction crisis and deterioration of the natural world.
She was an original cosponsor of a bill directing the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from public lands and waters, recognizing the role of fossil fuel extraction on public lands driving climate change.
Climate change is a universal environmental and social justice issue, and one of the most urgent of our time. As countries around the world are ramping up efforts to address it, we in the United States have public lands and waters which provide an immediate opportunity for the federal government to act on climate change.
Rep. Haaland’s hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. in Room SD-366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.