Statement on President-Elect Biden Tapping A Climate Champion to Lead the Department of Interior
Washington, D.C. — Today, Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power 2020, issued the following statement on Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Congresswoman Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior:
“President-Elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Congresswoman Deb Haaland to lead the Department of Interior shows his strong commitment to environmental justice and bold climate action. Her appointment is also a historic moment for our country with profound meaning. Haaland will be the first Native American to serve as Secretary of the Interior, which controls federal lands and has a history of exploiting Indigeneous people and displacing Tribal communities. As Secretary of the Interior, Haaland will be on the front lines of addressing the climate crisis and protecting our land, air, and water from polluters. Climate and justice champions like Congresswoman Haaland must be the standard for Cabinet leaders and political appointees in the Biden-Harris administration as they implement the bold, government-wide, and just climate plans promised during the 2020 campaign.”
Haaland serves as vice-chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and led a coalition of Members of Congress to introduce an aggressive land and ocean conservation strategy. Haaland also introduced a bill to expand access to public lands. Along with Sen. Cory Booker, Haaland introduced a $100 billion plan to clean up legacy pollution that disproportionately impacts Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.
Her nomination would also be a historic achievement as Haaland – a member of the Laguna Pueblo people – would be the first Indigenous person to serve in the Cabinet. Honoring Tribal sovereignty and advancing climate proposals that justly work in partnership with Tribal governments must be a critical focus for the next Interior secretary after the Trump administration ignored Native communities’ rights to clean air, water, and sacred lands.