Merkley Welcomes Appointment of Environmental Justice Champions to Key Positions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, who serves on both the Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is a member of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, today issued a statement following President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement that he will appoint Representative Deb Haaland, Brenda Mallory, Michael Regan, and Gina McCarthy to key environmental positions:

“Our families and our economy are already experiencing climate chaos’ wrath—from apocalyptic wildfires ravaging the western United States, to record-breaking storms battering our Gulf Coast communities, to more frequent heat waves. And things will only get worse if we don’t begin to rapidly reverse the harm that the Trump administration has done to clean air and water, public lands, and environmental justice.

Representative Deb Haaland is a historic choice for Secretary of the Department of the Interior, and I applaud the President-elect for taking the long-overdue step of nominating an Indigenous leader as head of the agency overseeing programs that directly affect Indian Country. I know she’ll be committed to protecting our public lands and addressing climate chaos. Brenda Mallory, nominated to be head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, has a track record of fighting for environmental justice, and the government experience to effectively ensure it is reflected in policy initiatives. Michael Regan, nominated to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has experience holding big polluters accountable, and I look forward to working with him to return the agency to its fundamental duty: protecting our communities from harmful pollution. And Gina McCarthy, the incoming White House climate coordinator, is widely recognized as one of the premiere advocates of combatting climate chaos, both through her time in public service and in her recent role as chief executive of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Joe Biden’s decision to pick these experienced leaders with proven track records for these positions shows that the President-elect takes climate chaos seriously as the national emergency that it is. I look forward to supporting their nominations, working with them to restore critical protections for our environment, and tackling the climate crisis head on.”