news releases

15 March 2021

HAF Celebrates Deb Haaland’s Secretary of Interior Confirmation

Category: News Releases

Today, the Senate confirmed New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as Secretary for the Department of Interior within the Biden Administration’s Cabinet. In response to the confirmation, Hispanic Access Foundation’s President and CEO Maite Arce released the following statement:

Not only has Rep. Haaland made history by becoming the first Native American to hold the position of a Cabinet Secretary, but she also has a history of championing conservation issues important to Latinos, such as promoting environmental justice, protecting public lands and waters, preserving cultural heritage and addressing the climate crisis. 

We applaud her confirmation -- she is extremely qualified and experienced -- and 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.

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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