Conservation Groups See Opportunity in Deb Haaland's Nomination
Friday, February 5, 2021
WIND RIVER RESERVATION, Wyo. - The nomination of Deb Haaland for U.S. Secretary of the Interior has won praise from conservation groups eager to get to work restoring America's natural resources.
Jason Baldes lives on the Wind River Reservation and is the tribal buffalo program manager of the National Wildlife Federation's Tribal Partnership team. He said he sees opportunity in Haaland's strong advocacy to fuel tribal conservation efforts through the Recovering America's Wildlife Act.
"Which would provide $1.4 billion annually for collaborative efforts between states and tribes to recover wildlife species," said Baldes. "This would be the most significant investment in wildlife conservation in a generation."
The measure is one of many policies championed by Haaland during her term as a congressional Rep. for New Mexico.
Haaland would be the first Native American to lead the Interior Department, the agency charged with overseeing tribal interests. Some critics see her nomination as a shift away from so-called energy dominance policies that they claim could lead to job loss.
Baldes said he's confident Haaland's Interior Department would bring balance to public-lands management, and expand efforts to keep rivers and streams healthy, restore clean air, and protect wildlife and the ecological integrity of America's landscapes for future generations.
"It's time for that type of healing," said Baldes. "For not only the land, the animals and plants, but for our communities. We have to reconnect with the natural world in some way. I think there's a hope that there can be some restoration with the confirmation of Deb Haaland."
Independent watchdog groups have given Haaland high marks for securing bipartisan support for legislation to conserve public lands and waters, while also expanding access for hunting, fishing and recreation, including recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act.
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