WASHINGTON (March 15, 2021)—The Senate is expected to vote soon on whether to confirm Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) as secretary of the Interior. She will bring a much-needed perspective to the administration, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Below is a statement by Dr. Kathleen Rest, executive director of UCS.
“In Congress, Representative Haaland has demonstrated a deep concern for environmental justice, conservation and climate change. She knows the role science and evidence should play in making policy, and we are excited to see her put her knowledge and values to work as secretary of the Interior.
“Representative Haaland would be the first Indigenous person to serve as a member of the Cabinet. Her confirmation would not only make history, but also bring a much-needed perspective to the Department of the Interior. Throughout U.S. history, Indigenous people have been marginalized in federal policy and excluded from decisions that affect their lives and their communities. As a member of the Laguna Pueblo, Representative Haaland has the experience and vision to steer the Department of the Interior in a new direction and better protect the lands that hold such cultural, ecological and economic importance to Indigenous groups.
“For the last four years, the Department of the Interior focused on rolling back conservation efforts—dismantling the Endangered Species Act and sidelining science in order to open public lands for mining and fossil fuel extraction. Representative Haaland has the qualifications to restore the department’s original mission and lead efforts to fight climate change, advance environmental justice and prioritize public over narrow private interests. We look forward to working with the new secretary of the Interior to protect our nation’s ecosystems, cultural heritage and the climate—for the benefit of communities across the country, including tribes.”