Rep. Deb Haaland is the Right Choice for Interior Secretary

President Joe Biden’s nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to serve as the next Interior Secretary is a welcomed, historic win for not only Tribal Nations everywhere, but for the future of the environment and wildlife. It has been a long time coming that we place the responsibility of stewarding our public lands in the hands of a capable and passionate leader whose heritage rests in doing just that. 

As a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, Rep. Haaland would be the first Indigenous cabinet member and the right choice for the job. The National Wildlife Federation and Tribal Partnerships Program have a long-standing history of working with Rep. Haaland on a number of legislative initiatives that support people, wildlife, and the environment.

PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act

Rep. Deb Haaland in front of a mountain landscape.
Photo by Michael S. Anaya-Gorman.

Rep. Haaland introduced the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act, a bipartisan bill signed into law by President Trump, that affirms the right to self-governance for tribes across the country. The bill streamlines the process for Tribes and Tribal organizations to obtain self-governance contracts with the Department of the Interior, meaning they’ll be able to more efficiently prioritize, manage and implement initiatives on Tribal lands and territories.

Recovering America’s Wildlife and Tribal Wildlife Corridors Acts

Rep Deb Haaland in front of prickly pear cactus.
Photo by Michael S. Anaya-Gorman.

She has been a strong advocate and co-sponsor for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a landmark bill that would help at-risk wildlife and support wildlife agencies across the country. It will be a key tool in helping to reverse the country’s wildlife crisis. The bill also directs $97.5 million to Tribal-led wildlife conservation efforts, further advancing Tribal sovereignty and enforcing equitable resources to manage wildlife and Tribal lands.

The Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act of 2019 empowers Tribes to enhance wildlife habitat connectivity on Tribal lands. Supported by Rep. Haaland, the bill requires the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Interior to consider opportunities to link Tribal wildlife corridors to federal public lands in addition to consulting and providing technical assistance to Tribes on wildlife connectivity work.

Expanding Outdoor Recreation and Access for Hunting and Fishing

As vice-chair of the Natural Resources Committee and chair of the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands subcommittee, Haaland played a key leadership role in the passage of the John D Dingell, Jr. Conservation Management Act, the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, and the Great American Outdoors Act. These bills conserved public lands and waters that are critical for wildlife and expanded access for hunting, fishing, and recreation.

Environmental and Social Justice

Rep. Deb Haaland in front of solar panels.
Photo by Michael S. Anaya-Gorman.

Her leadership doesn’t end at wildlife and wild places. Rep. Deb Haaland recently participated in a roundtable discussion facilitated by the National Wildlife Federation to discuss environmental and social justice for her constituents throughout New Mexico in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

She also sponsored legislation to create an advisory committee composed of law enforcement, Tribal leaders, federal partners, service providers, and survivors to make recommendations to the Department of Interior and Department of Justice and provide best practices in combating violent crime in Tribal and Indigenous communities.

Moreover, Rep. Haaland and U.S. Senator Cory Booker introduced a new bill aimed at eliminating pollution that has disproportionately harmed communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities over generations. The Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act would invest $100 billion to clean up legacy pollution and would prohibit granting major source air pollution permits in vulnerable communities already suffering harm from high levels of air pollution. 

All in all, there is no better person for the job of protecting our lands, water, and wildlife and acting in the best interest of people impacted by environmental injustices. Rep. Deb Haaland would lead America into a better future of collaboration and partnerships that will ensure everyone has a seat at the table.

Tell your U.S. Senators to stop the attacks and support Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary so she can bring balance and collaboration back to public lands management.

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