President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Rep. Deb Haaland to be his Interior Secretary, and Michael Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the transition team announced on Thursday night.
Haaland would be the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary if she is confirmed by the Senate. The decision to pick Haaland is being cheered by progressives, who felt Biden was not doing enough to put progressive voices in his cabinet.
As the Interior Secretary, Haaland would be tasked with managing and conserving much of the country’s federal lands and natural resources, which include national parks and tribal lands.
The Washington Post was the first to report Haaland being tapped for Biden’s cabinet.
The 60-year-old is a member of the Laguna Pueblo people and represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District. She is the chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
Regan is currently the head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. He worked for the EPA during the Bill Clinton and the George W. Bush administrations. If confirmed, Regan would be the first Black man to head the EPA. Lisa Jackson was the first Black person in the role, holding the job during President Barack Obama’s first term in office.
As the head of the EPA, Regan would be tasked with overseeing Biden’s fight to combat climate change, invest in green energy and infrastructure, and take on environmental injustice. The President-elect repeatedly said on the campaign trail
Biden also plans to name Ali Zaidi, an aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as his deputy White House climate coordinator.
The news comes as Biden still has to make his pick for Attorney General. Reports say Doug Jones and Judge Merrick Garland are the top two contenders for the job. The transition team has repeatedly said Biden would finish filling his cabinet by Christmas.