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THEY’RE PREACHIN MCEACHIN: Rep. Donald McEachinAston (Donale) Donald McEachinDemocrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Progressive group slams Biden White House pick over tie to fossil fuel industry OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden pledges carbon-free power by 2035 in T environment plan | Trump administration has been underestimating costs of carbon pollution, government watchdog finds | Trump to move forward with rollback of bedrock environmental law MORE (D-Va.) is interested in a job shaping environment policy for the Biden administration.
In an interview with The Hill, the lawmaker said he isn’t explicitly running for a gig with Team Biden, but said he would make a good bridge-builder in either the role of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator or domestic climate czar.
McEachin said that he has not been in contact with the transition about these roles, but he and two others are reportedly being backed for the EPA role by the progressive Sunrise Movement.
“I’m thrilled and excited about Biden’s environmental plan,” McEachin said. “If the president-elect thinks that I can help him in whatever manner, I’m certainly open to having that conversation.”
McEachin has served in the House since 2017 and has been a leading voice on environmental inequalities faced by low-income communities and communities of color.
He said that if he were to take on one of these roles, environmental justice and helping communities transition away from fossil fuel-dependent economies would be among his priorities.
“What I’d like to see is the opportunity to coordinate things on a domestic level to make sure that we are about the business of environmental justice, about the business of helping transitional communities, about the business of making sure that America is doing her part to reduce our climate footprint, to engage in carbon sequestration and to be a partner on the world stage,” he said.
Biden often mentioned environmental justice on the campaign trail, releasing a second environmental plan that specifically focused on the issue.
That plan was formulated with the help of a Sanders-Biden unity task force, of which McEachin was a member. In it, Biden pledged to target 40 percent of the clean energy investments in disadvantaged communities and create an Environmental and Climate Justice Division at the Justice Department to enforce environmental rules.
Read more on McEachin here.
INTERIOR RACE BEGINNING TO GET REAL EXTERIOR:
An open letter… A coalition of indigenous and progressive groups is calling on Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallHaaland backers ask Udall to step aside in bid for Interior post OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA proposes reapproving uses of pesticide linked to brain damage in children | Hispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham | Schwarzenegger backs Nichols to lead EPA Hispanic caucus unhappy with transition team treatment of Lujan Grisham MORE (D-N.M.) to withdraw himself from consideration to serve as Interior secretary in the coming Biden administration and instead back Rep. Deb HaalandDebra HaalandHaaland backers ask Udall to step aside in bid for Interior post Biden picks leave Democrats with slimmest House majority in modern history House Democrats introduce bill to address diversity at State Department MORE (D-N.M.).
The two New Mexico lawmakers are on President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris named Time’s 2020 ‘Person of the Year’ US to sanction Turkey over Russian defense system: report Federal government executes Brandon Bernard despite last-minute appeals MORE’s short list to run the department.
While Udall would be the second person from his family to run Interior, Haaland would be the first Native American to run the agency — and serve in a Cabinet position.
“You have long been a champion for Indian Country and a leader in the fight for climate justice,” the groups wrote to Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
“At the same time, there has already been a Udall who has served as Secretary of the Interior — your father Stewart. It would not be right for two Udalls to lead the Department of the Interior, the agency tasked with managing the nation’s public lands, natural resources and trust responsibilities to tribes, before a single Native American,” NDN Collective, an indigenous rights group, Sunrise Movement, a youth climate organization, Data for Progress and Justice Democrats wrote in the letter.
The letter says that a second Udall at Interior is not “what you or your father have stood for in your tireless advocacy for strong Native representation at all levels of government.”
Udall’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment to The Hill.
Haaland, asked for comment on the letter, called Udall a dear friend and colleague.
“I am grateful for everything that he has done for New Mexico and Indian Country. No matter who President-elect Biden chooses to lead any one of his cabinet posts, I will work hard to make sure his administration is successful,” she said in a statement.
Biden has been under increasing pressure from progressives and Native American groups to select Haaland as he seeks to form a Cabinet that “looks like America.”
Biden is also weighing Michael Connor for the role. Connor was Interior’s first Native American deputy secretary and served for the last three years of the Obama administration.
An open secret… Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) on Friday stressed the importance of having Native American representation in government — nodding to the role she could play in a Biden administration that has come under increased pressure to select her to lead the Interior Department.
“I think it’s wonderful that our country is progressing in that manner, that a Cabinet-level position filled by a Native American is a conversation that we’re having right now,” Haaland said in a Washington Post Live event.
If selected to lead the Interior Department, Haaland would be the first Native American to hold a Cabinet-level position.
She would also be in charge of an agency that has often fallen short in its responsibilities to tribes.
Haaland specifically called out the Trump administration for building the border wall along lands sacred to Native Americans and for shrinking national monuments of importance to tribes such as Bears Ears.
“We have to include Native Americans in the conversation because this was all Indian country at one time,” she said. “They deserve to be consulted when decisions about our public lands are made. We’ve seen that play out in real time during this administration and what happens when you don’t consult tribes.”
But Biden is also weighing another Native American, Obama-era Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor, for the job.
Haaland dodged the question, however, when asked if Connor’s potential appointment would carry the same significance.
“What I’ll say is I worked extremely hard to make sure that Joe Biden won this election. And I am going to support whoever President-elect Biden chooses for any Cabinet position, it’ll be my job in Congress, or wherever I am to make sure that this administration is a success. And I’m committed to that,” she said.
Read more on the letter here and Haaland’s comments here.
“It is unconscionable that a Native American has never served in the Cabinet. That should change now,” former Obama Cabinet official Julian CastroJulian CastroJulian Castro announces relaunch of ‘Adios Trump!’ shirts to raise money for young immigrants Sanders says Democrats should have given more speaking time to progressives Castro says DNC should have put more Latino speakers on stage from beginning MORE wrote on twitter.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Energy issues rule allowing companies to develop own efficiency tests for products | GOP lawmakers push back on Federal Reserve’s climate risk efforts Overnight Energy: Trump EPA finalizes air rule that critics say favors polluters | Zinke, in official and unofficial portraits, returns to Interior on horseback | Vilsack gets lukewarm response as Biden Agriculture pick from those seeking reformed USDA Zinke, in official and unofficial portraits, returns to Interior on horseback MORE’s official portrait, as dissected by HuffPost
World carbon emissions see record drop amid coronavirus pandemic, we report
The Verge reports on how governors are fighting for clean energy jobs,
ICYMI: Stories from Thursday and onward…
McEachin signals interest in Biden administration environment role
Haaland, eyed for Interior, stresses need for Native American representation
World carbon emissions see record drop amid coronavirus pandemic
Haaland backers ask Udall to step aside in bid for Interior post
Dozens of species declared extinct in latest IUCN report
Delaware-sized iceberg could collide with island in South Atlantic this month
CDC studies impact of ‘forever chemical’ exposure on COVID-19 antibodies