WASHINGTON – Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement in response to the nomination of David Bernhardt as the Secretary of the Department of the Interior:
“We fully hope that during the confirmation process, the U.S. Senate will press Acting Secretary, David Bernhardt, in how he will embrace his role in representing all Americans and advancing the office’s long-standing mandate to protect America’s natural and cultural heritage. Our nation is a tapestry woven with a rich and culturally diverse social fabric, and the histories, stories and voices celebrated through our public lands should reflect that.
“Additionally, we all have a moral obligation to be good stewards of our public lands and waters to ensure that future generations can enjoy and learn from these special places. From the stunning beauty of landscapes like the Grand Canyon, to the historically important Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, to globally unique places like the Mojave Desert and its culturally significant and life-sustaining oases, our nation’s public lands are part of what makes America great.
“Through an approach that balances energy production with natural resource management and conservation, we can ensure that not only are our public lands accessible for generations to come, but also that they continue to support the booming outdoor recreation economy and healthier lifestyles, communities, and ecosystems.
“We, as well as the Latino families, faith leaders, sportsman and young people we serve ask the Senate to press Acting Secretary Bernhardt in outlining his top conservation priorities, including protecting our nation’s public lands and water, preserving our cultural heritage and history, and honoring the critical mission of the Department of Interior.”
Since its founding in 2010, HAF has made building environmental awareness among Latinos, going outdoors and empowering advocates a top priority, including the groundbreaking formation of Por La Creación Faith-Based Alliance, which unites Latino faith leaders around conservation, and the launch of Latino Conservation Week, which was celebrated with more than 150 events by 190 partners in 2018.