Grijalva backs Haaland for Interior Secretary

Grijalva backs Haaland for Interior Secretary
© Greg Nash

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is backing fellow committee member Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Haaland calls for attention for slain Indigenous women amid Petito case Haaland calls for 'balance' in federal oil and gas program MORE (D-N.M.) as the Biden campaign considers nominating her to be the next secretary of the Interior.

Grijalva, who had been recommended for the top Interior position by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, shared a letter with members Monday saying he is no longer interested in the role, preferring to continue his work through his chairmanship. 

Instead, he urged committee members to put their weight behind Haaland, who would make history as the first-ever Native American Interior secretary.

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“It is well past time that an Indigenous person brings history full circle at the Department of Interior. As her colleague on the Natural Resources Committee, I have seen first-hand the passion and dedication she puts into these issues at the forefront of the Interior Department from tackling the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women to crafting thoughtful solutions to combating the climate crisis using America’s public lands,” Grijalva wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill. 

“It should go without saying, Rep. Haaland is absolutely qualified to do the job," he added.

For Haaland, the backing of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus could be significant, particularly as the Democratic Party looks for ways to address faltering support from key demographics, including Latinos.

It could also help Haaland compete against outgoing Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallOvernight Defense: Milley reportedly warned Trump against Iran strikes | Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer killed in Afghanistan | 70 percent of active-duty military at least partially vaccinated Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-N.M.) who is also being considered for the job.

Udall, whose father held the role during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, has worked on Interior issues for much of his time in the Senate and may face an easier confirmation path with support from colleagues.

His office recently released a document detailing his conservation work during his time in office. One of his bills, which would conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, has been incorporated into President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE’s climate plan.