Statement: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee should recommend Rep. Deb Haaland as next Secretary of the Interior

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Haaland would renew focus on conservation at Interior Department.

Environment America

WASHINGTON — The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will vote Thursday on whether to recommend U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico as the 45th Secretary of the Interior. Rep. Haaland has served as vice chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and as chair of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee. 

In the 117th Congress, Rep. Haaland proposed H.Res.835, a vital resolution to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030. President Joe Biden has made this policy a key part of his new administration. Additionally, she sponsored H.R.1050, the ANTIQUITIES Act, which clarifies that a president cannot reduce or diminish a monument, rather, only Congress can do this. This important distinction prevents the yo-yo effect of one administration protecting public land only to have another strip protections for the same area. 

Steve Blackledge, senior director for Environment America’s conservation program, issued the following statement: 

“We strongly and enthusiastically support Rep Haaland as the right choice to lead the Department of the Interior. 

“America is blessed with stunning landscapes and incredible wildlife, which call our outdoor spaces home. Our lives are made richer because of it, no matter how often we get out in nature. But we’re still carving up two football fields of nature every minute and doing permanent damage to America the Beautiful. More than ever, we need Deb Haaland to enter stage right.

“With a committed environmentalist like Rep. Haaland in charge of Interior, we can make great progress in conserving America’s wild places and protecting our wildlife. In the last Congress, she championed key environmental legislation, notably by introducing a resolution to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030. President Biden not only adopted the basis of this bill as a tenet of his campaign, but also later advanced it via a popular executive order. As Interior Secretary, she will play a vital role in making that goal a reality.

“As the head of the Interior Department, Rep. Haaland will oversee a total portfolio of 415 million acres, heading up the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Park Service (NPS). At a time when the United Nations is warning of ‘1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades,’ we need an environmental champ who will make conservation of wildlife a top priority for the department.”