WASHINGTON, D.C.—Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley—the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the U.S. Department of the Interior—released the following statement following Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s historic Senate confirmation to lead the department:
“Secretary Haaland’s lifetime of service demonstrates her strong commitment to defending our public lands and waters—natural treasures that make countless contributions to the spirit and vitality of communities and local economies throughout Oregon and across America. At a time when climate chaos is fueling more catastrophic wildfires, deadly winter storms, extreme droughts, and powerful hurricanes, that kind of responsible environmental stewardship couldn’t be more important to the health and safety of our families.
“I am also thrilled that for the first time ever, a Native American woman will be at the helm of the agency that oversees programs directly affecting Indian Country. This is an invaluable milestone in our work to turn the page on America’s long history of broken promises with tribal nations, and I look forward to working with Secretary Haaland to support tribal sovereignty and self-determination.”