In a historic vote on Monday, Debra Haaland was confirmed as President Biden’s Interior secretary. As a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, she will be the first Native American cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
Haaland, a former representative from New Mexico, was confirmed with a 51 to 40 split in the Senate, the narrowest margin of any of Biden’s cabinet picks so far. At the helm of the Department of the Interior, which houses the Department of Indian Affairs, she will oversee 500 million acres of public land, including the national parks system and oil and gas drilling on federal land. The Interior has an important part to play in tackling climate change, as one-quarter of all U.S. emissions can be attributed to fossil fuels extracted on these lands.