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Biden chooses Haaland to lead DOI; would be first Native American to lead department

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has chosen Representative Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico, to lead the Interior Department, according to people familiar with the decision, a move that would make history: If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first Native American appointed to a cabinet secretary position.

Ms. Haaland would not only head the federal agency most responsible for the well-being of the nation’s 1.9 million Indigenous people, but also would play a central role in implementing Mr. Biden’s ambitious environmental and climate change agenda. As head of the agency that oversees 500 million acres of public lands, including national parks, oil and gas drilling sites, and endangered species habitat, she would be entrusted to restore federal protections to vast swathes of land and water that the Trump administration has opened up to drilling, mining, logging and construction.

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