December 18, U.S. media sources said that on Thursday (17th local time), U.S. President-elect Biden has nominated Deb Haaland, a Democrat from New Mexico, as Secretary of the Interior. If the nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Harland will become the first Native cabinet member in American history.
According to U.S. media such as THE Hill and Fox News, Harland, 60, is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe. She became one of the first two Aboriginal women elected to Congress in 2018 and one of the early supporters of the Green New Deal. Harland’s nomination was supported by some progressive groups and indigenous tribes.
The nomination is expected to give a strong impetus to Biden’s team, and Harland will not only make history as the first Aboriginal cabinet member, but also her head of the Interior Department of the Interior.
The U.S. Department of the Interior is a huge agency of 70,000 people. Its responsibilities include the management of federal land, land and offshore natural resources, indigenous affairs, national parks, environmental security, etc. U.S. media believe that the Trump administration has repealed many regulations to protect the environment and endangered species and further expanded oil and gas exploitation.
If Harland’s nomination is confirmed by the Senate, she may bring a major policy turn to the agency. Biden’s pledge to ban the approval of new oil and gas extractions on public lands could require action from Congress.