Haaland Becomes First Native American Interior Secretary
The U.S. Interior Department — with jurisdiction over almost one-fifth of the country's land mass and a dozen federal agencies — now has an inspiring new leader. Rep. Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico and citizen of the Laguna Pueblo, was confirmed this week as Interior secretary.
"Our country's public lands, waters and wildlife desperately need the strong, thoughtful leadership Secretary Haaland can provide," said Kierán Suckling, the Center for Biological Diversity's executive director. "She knows we need to work quickly to address climate collapse and the wildlife extinction crisis, and we hope that includes ending fossil fuel extraction on public lands and waters."
Previously chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, Haaland will oversee a review of the federal oil and gas extraction program, which President Biden ordered Jan. 27 when he suspended new leasing. She'll play a pivotal role in Biden's directive to protect 30% of the country's lands and ocean waters by 2030 to curb the extinction crisis and climate change.