We welcome the historic selection of Congresswoman Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior Department. Because all Americans live on Indigenous ancestral lands, it is fitting and overdue for a Tribal Nation member to be a leader in the presidential administration and the foremost caretaker of our public lands and waters.
We believe Rep. Haaland will be a partner in closing the Nature Gap afflicting Latinos and other marginalized communities. As it currently stands, communities of color are three times more likely than white communities to live in nature-deprived areas. This lack of green space leaves our communities with higher pollution levels, more intense heat in the summer, worse mental health and COVID-19 outcomes, less resilience to storms and flooding, and fewer recreational, educational, and business opportunities.
As the lead congressional sponsor of the “Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature,” HAF looks forward to Rep. Haaland’s leadership in the coming years, including setting a goal to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. As we move forward in protecting our lands and waters, we must ensure that the benefits of nature are realized equitably, with access to parkland and beaches for underserved communities, honoring the sovereignty of tribal nations, and prioritizing climate resilience and pollution reduction in environmental justice communities.
HAF, as well as the Latino families, faith leaders, and young people we serve, look forward to working with Rep. Haaland and honoring the critical mission of the Department of Interior.