President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico to serve as Interior Secretary. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, would be the first Indigenous person to run any Cabinet-level department in the history of the United States.
Deb Haaland is a friend, a fighter, a passionate defender of the Wild, and an activist. In other words, she embodies what it means to be a Guardian.
She’s a steadfast champion of bold climate action, environmental justice, and protection of public lands and imperiled wildlife. Rep. Haaland appeared in our video against trapping on public lands in 2018 and she delivered an inspirational welcoming address during Guardians’ virtual Gala this September.
When the Standing Rock Sioux took direct action against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, Haaland not only joined the protest, she cooked green chili and tortillas at the camp, her traditional way of contributing to the fight against the oil pipeline.
Rep. Haaland has proven her leadership in defending the Greater Chaco region from the Trump administration’s “Energy Dominance” agenda. Guardians and our supporters look forward to working with her to ensure that President-elect Biden’s promise for bold climate action by ending new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands is kept.
In Congress, Rep. Haaland has been at the forefront of issues central to the climate and nature crises that the Department of Interior must address. The Department must stop the plundering of public lands, protect endangered species, implement policies that nurture an ethic of wildlife coexistence, protect 30% of all lands by 2030, and expand and deepen protection of national parks, monuments, and cultural sites.
As an Indigenous woman, Rep. Haaland deeply understands the intersectionality of conservation and racial, climate, and social justice. Given Interior’s trustee obligations to Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Nations, nominating Rep. Haaland is a vital step towards reforming the agencies within Interior to meet those obligations.
We need bold vision and compassionate leadership in times of crisis and we’re confident that Representative Haaland will meet the profound challenges that a new Interior Secretary will face.
WildEarth Guardians looks forward to working with soon-to-be Secretary Haaland to help usher in a new era at the Department of the Interior and, as always, we’ll need you by our side to take full advantage of this tremendous opportunity for positive, systemic, and lasting change.