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WASHINGTON, DC — Moments ago, it was reported that President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Representative Deb Haaland to serve as Secretary of the Interior. She would be the first Indigenous person to serve in that position.

In reaction to the announcement, Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, said:

“Representative Deb Haaland is exactly the type of national parks and public lands champion we need at the helm of Interior. Her nomination to be Secretary of the Interior is historic as she would be the first Indigenous person to serve in that position. 

“Representative Haaland is a public lands champion with experience protecting and managing America’s most majestic landmarks. As a member of the National Resources Committee and its National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands subcommittee, she has been at the forefront crafting thoughtful solutions to combating the climate crisis that continues to impact our national parks.

“For the last four years, Secretary David Bernhardt’s actions have harmed the mission and the employees of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Even now, after large bipartisan majorities in Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act to expand outdoor access for all Americans and to conserve our great country, Secretary Bernhardt continues to undermine the intent of Congress regarding LWCF funding.

Both the Department and the NPS will have to undo many actions taken over the past four years, while at the same time advancing a progressive agenda to ensure that our nation’s special places have adequate funding, committing to addressing global climate change, welcoming diverse public participation, and wisely using our country’s resources. 

“With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to impact the health and safety of NPS employees, volunteers, concessionaires, visitors, and members of gateway communities, we need a leader who will put not only our resources, but also our people first. We need someone like Deb Haaland running the Department of the Interior.”