Biden Picks Rep. Deb Haaland to Be Interior Secretary | Sojourners

Biden Picks Rep. Deb Haaland to Be Interior Secretary

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) questions Major Adam DeMarco of the District of Columbia National Guard as he testifies about the June 1 confrontation with protesters at Lafayette Square near the White House during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Rep. Deb Haaland to serve as his interior secretary, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Haaland, a Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico since 2019, would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary and the first to oversee the department, whose jurisdiction includes tribal lands.

Reuters reported Tuesday that Haaland was the leading candidate for the job, which would give her authority over a department that employs more than 70,000 people across the United States and oversees more than 20 percent of the nation's surface, including tribal lands and national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite.

She has told Reuters she would seek to usher in an expansion of renewable energy production on federal land to contribute to the fight against climate change, and undo President Donald Trump's focus on bolstering fossil fuels output.

If nominated, Haaland would step down from her seat in the U.S. House, where Democrats already are facing a slim majority in 2021 after losing seats in the 2020 election.

Pete Schroeder also contributed reporting.