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Positive News for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments

New Mexico Rep. Deb Halland, an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo, is president-elect Biden's pick for Secretary of the Interior. That has to be good for the future of our public lands.


The following excerpts were taken from a December 1, 2020 article in the Salt Lake City Tribune. A link to the full article is provided below.


New Mexico Rep. Deb Halland. Photo: Jim Thompson/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, File)


Utah’s tribal leaders, Indigenous groups and conservationists celebrated reports Thursday that Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, will be President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to become secretary of the interior. If confirmed, she’d be the first Native American to serve in any presidential Cabinet.


The Interior secretary has a major influence on Utah, a state where more than two-thirds of its lands are owned by the public. Over the past several weeks, a wide range of environmental and liberal groups joined 130 tribal leaders in pressuring the Biden administration to tap Haaland, an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, to lead the department. Interior oversees the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management, as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education.


“The appointment of Deb Haaland is not only historic,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement, “but it also sends a clear message to all tribes and people across America that the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to addressing the wrongs of the past and clearing a path for real change and opportunity for tribal nations.”


Biden campaigned on a promise to restore the 1.3-million acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah, which was created by President Barack Obama in 2016 and reduced to 15% of its original size the following year by Trump. The president also shrunk Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


If confirmed, Haaland would likely play a key role in any negotiations to reverse cuts to the monuments, which was created at the request of five Native American tribes with ancestral ties to the culturally rich region.


Edited from then Salt Lake City Tribune. The full article is here:

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