After winning the U.S. election with 306 electoral votes, Biden, who is forming a cabinet, made another decision to “making history”. Biden officially nominated Deb Haaland, a Democratic Representative of New Mexico and the native, as the next Secretary of the Interior of the U.S. government on December 17.
If the nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate, Harland will become the first Aboriginal cabinet minister in American history. U.S. media described Biden’s nomination as a “historic choice”, saying that it would bring “a major turning point” to the relationship between the U.S. government and the indigenous people. Because Harland has always advocated the implementation of the Green New Deal, it is also seen as Biden’s concession to the environmental progressive group within the Democratic Party.
According to The Washington Post, Harland is a native Pueblo of New Mexico and is a member of the Lagna Pueblo tribe in the state. Harland’s mother is Pueblo native, and his father is Norwegian-American.
Harland was thrilled by Biden’s nomination, and she quickly issued a statement thanking Biden for his decision.” Someone like me has never held a position as Minister of the Interior or other cabinet ministers.” “The U.S. faces the impacts of climate change and environmental issues, and the Department of the Interior has a role to play, and I will be a partner in addressing these challenges, protecting public lands and driving the United States toward clean energy.”
U.S. media pointed out that some groups in the United States have been criticizing the Department of the Interior for “despising Aboriginal people”. If the nomination is approved, Harland, an indigenous person, may try to adjust the problem after taking office.
Raul Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona, said that the U.S. Department of the Interior was first used to disenfranchise Aboriginal people and colonize, and it would be “historic” if Harland became Secretary of the Interior in the future. He called it an opportunity for the Home Office to “do big things”.
Because Harland supports the implementation of the “Green New Deal” and opposes the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, her future-led U.S. Department of the Interior may choose to abandon the Trump administration’s approach of focusing on environmental issues and focusing on expanding the oil and gas industry and adopt the opposite policy. Harland has announced that she will work to “transform the fossil fuel industry into renewable energy” in the United States and actively promote “climate change mitigation policies”.
In addition, Biden promised in the election that he would ban further oil and gas extraction on public land in the United States. U.S. media pointed out that this idea will obviously encounter many obstacles, and Biden needs the support of the Interior Department.
Regarding this potential energy policy drastic change, the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association has issued a statement calling on Harland to adjust his policy in a “balanced way” to give more consideration to people who rely on public land resource development for their livelihood.
House Speaker Pelosi has endorsed the nomination, claiming that Biden “made a very good choice”. The Hill believes that Biden’s nomination indicates that he has chosen to give in to some so-called “progressive groups” and “environmental groups” within the Democratic Party.
However, the report also pointed out that as more people from the Democratic camp support Harland, which may in turn increase Republican hostility to her, Biden’s nomination may be more difficult to pass in the Republican-dominated Senate.
CNN briefly described Harland’s resume: in 2012, she served as the director of Aboriginal voting on the Obama campaign; from 2015 to 2017, she was also the chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, becoming the first Aboriginal woman in the United States to lead a state party; in 2018, she was elected. Congressman, becoming the first Aboriginal female member to enter the U.S. Congress.
In addition to Harland, Biden may soon put forward another “historic” nomination, suggesting Michael Regan, the head of the North Carolina Environmental Supervisory Agency, to become the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to people familiar with the matter. If the nomination is made, Reagan will become the first black director of the agency.