FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Public Lands Alliance (PLA) congratulates Deb Haaland on her confirmation as the 54nd Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Below is a statement by PLA President and CEO Dan Puskar:
"The Public Lands Alliance (PLA) is excited that today Deb Haaland of New Mexico begins her stewardship of many of our nation's most important natural wonders, cultural landmarks and historic places managed by the Department of the Interior.
"PLA had the pleasure of working with Secretary Haaland in her role as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and admired her leadership on many critical issues, including the challenges faced by public lands and their local communities created by the coronavirus pandemic. PLA is also eager to continue working with the Secretary on safely reopening our public lands to the American people. Too many facilities across Interior's public lands remain closed to increasing numbers of visitors, curtailing their access to enhanced opportunities and essential services. Closures have crippled the operations of many public lands partners and devastated their workforces. PLA is thrilled by Secretary Haaland and the Biden-Harris Administration's commitments to lead by respecting science, and we believe that science and public health experts will help us safely many public lands facilities swiftly.
"PLA supports Secretary Haaland's vision for ensuring our public lands are resilient in the face of climate change and welcoming to all Americans. To implement the Administration's goals including the creation of a Civilian Conservation Corps and achieving racial equity on our public lands, Secretary Haaland will need an experienced team. PLA encourages Secretary Haaland to move swiftly to identify, appoint, and nominate individuals who are committed to working closely with partners to protect these special places and enrich the experience of visitors. This is especially true for the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service, which have both been without confirmed Directors for more than four years.
"Finally, on behalf of PLA and the nonprofit partners of America's public lands, we thank Secretary Haaland for taking on this challenging new role. Our nation has gone too long without elevating a Native American to lead one of the major departments of its government. We are grateful to Secretary Haaland for shattering that glass ceiling."