“The selection of the first Native American interior secretary and first Black male EPA chief highlights pollution disparities”
“President-elect Joe Biden tapped Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) Thursday to serve as the first Native American Cabinet secretary and head the Interior Department, an historic pick that marks a turning point for the U.S. government’s relationship with the nation’s Indigenous peoples.
With that selection and several others this week, Biden is sending a clear message that the officials who will confront the nation’s environmental problems will look like the Americans who are disproportionately affected by toxic air and despoiled land. He has named North Carolina environmental regulator Michael S. Regan to become the first Black man to head the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama administration veteran Brenda Mallory to serve as the first Black chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
While the picks represent a concession to progressives, who launched an unusual public campaign to place an American Indian at the helm of Interior, they also demonstrate Biden’s commitment to addressing the longstanding burdens low-income and minority communities have shouldered when it comes to dirty air and water. All three nominees will play a central role in realizing the president-elect’s promises to combat climate change, embrace green energy and address environmental racism.”