The New Mexico Democrat was elected to the U.S. House in 2018 and, as vice chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, has overseen hearings on installing zero-emission infrastructure in the national park system; the harm caused by removing National Forest roadless protections; and resource studies by the Interior Department on public lands.
As 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben wrote in The Guardian on Thursday, Haaland also introduced the 30 by 30 Act, which “sets a national goal of conserving at least 30% of the land and 30% of the ocean within the United States by 2030.”
“Appointing Rep. Haaland would be more than just historic, but a sign of a new path forward for Tribal Nations and indigenous communities across the United States regarding the trajectory and priorities of our government,” said Bridgett Todd, communications director for UltraViolet. “Her perspective would help the United States cut carbon emissions that we are contributing to the global climate change crisis and curb our dependence on fossil fuels… Her championship of public land conservation is one example among many of her tireless work to protect and maintain America’s national parks, forests, and natural resources.”
If appointed as head of the Interior Department—which oversees the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education—Haaland would be the first Indigenous leader to serve in the role. Last month, more than 120 advocacy groups and Indigenous tribal leaders voiced their support for Haaland’s nomination.
“The Bureau of Indian Affairs still has significant impact upon the 574 recognized Indian tribes, and in setting policy impacting upon all enrolled tribal members including the Indian Health Service,” wrote the supporters, including the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Gwich’in Steering Committee, and the Water Protector Legal Collective. “In addition, the Department of Interior is responsible for defending tribal sovereignty, ensuring that the legal trust responsibility of the United States toward Indian nations is upheld, and that Indian land oversight is conducted in a responsible way. Rep. Haaland has intimate knowledge of all of this.”
McKibben wrote that an Indigenous person serving at the helm of the Interior Department would be “a remarkable plot twist in the American story,” particularly after the past four years in which President Donald Trump has waged repeated attacks on public lands, including the shrinking of two national monuments to allow for fossil fuel extraction.
“A gesture can’t repair much of the damage that’s been done, but it can serve as a constant reminder of the debt still to be repaid,” wrote McKibben. “There’s never been a Native American cabinet member. For most of our history, sadly, it would have been an outlandish idea; now it feels absolutely necessary.”
Despite Haaland’s history of fighting to preserve the lands that the Interior Department oversees, according to the HuffPost, Biden advisors said this week that the congresswoman “is not qualified” and pushed the potential nomination of Michael Connor, who is a member of the Taos Pueblo tribe and served as a deputy interior secretary in the Obama administration before joining international law firm WilmerHale. Leaders of Connor’s own tribe are among the Indigenous leaders who back Haaland’s nomination.
THREE OTHER ARTICLES WORTH READING
- To Prevent the Next Covid-19, We Must Prioritize Biodiversity, by Susan Lieberman and Christian Walzer. Part of pandemic preparedness is acknowledging that human, wildlife, and ecological health are inseparable.
- With Abortion Rights Under Attack, Activists Urge Biden to Strike Hyde Amendment, by Amy Littlefield. Biden could craft a budget that strikes down the amendment, which withholds abortion coverage from millions of people.
- Police accountability reform is insufficient, by Brandon P. Ruben. To save lives, money, and time, states must diversify public safety services.
TOP COMMENTS • RESCUED DIARIES
“I ask, in my writing, ‘What is real?’ Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it.”
~~Philip K. Dick, “How To Build A Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later” (1978)
At Daily Kos on this date in 2019—The newest would-be House Republican: Former White House doctor Ronny Jackson:
Because the Republican Party is just gawdawful at this point, just absolutely child-punchingly gawdawful, it stands to reason that the pressure to recruit increasingly terrible people to fill the party ranks would rise accordingly. Non-insane House Republicans continue to retire rather than try to beat back frothing would-be replacements, sending the whole party ever-rightward and efficiently purging anyone with dignity, a conscience, or a basic grasp of reality.
It stands to reason, then, that disgraced White House physician Ronny Jackson would throw his hat in the ring to replace the retiring Rep. Mac Thornberry in Texas’s hard-right 13th District. Trump had been so impressed with Jackson’s bedside manner that he nominated him last year to head the Department of Veterans Affairs; that nomination turned into one of the White House’s many no-vetting train wrecks when it almost immediately came to light that Jackson had an alleged history of drunkenness on the job and a reputation for dispensing pills, shall we say, lavishly to White House staffers, allegedly earning him the nickname “Candyman.” Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson would soon withdraw his nomination and eventually leave his White House post in disgrace, amid an ongoing U.S. military probe of the allegations against him. That investigation, in fact, remains open.