Leaders of the National Congress of American Indians pose with Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico), center, prior to the State of Indian Nations address at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on February 11, 2019. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Rep. Deb Haaland chairs first hearing as leader of Congressional subcommittee

By Acee Agoyo

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) is leading her first hearing as chair of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on Wednesday morning.

The hearing is part of a Democratic-led focus on climate change, an issue they say was ignored when Republicans controlled the U.S. House of Representatives for the last decade or so. As chair of the subcommittee and as vice chair of the overall House Committee on Natural Resources, Haaland said she will use her leadership platform to protect public lands, which tribes continue to use as part of their traditions.

"I’m committed to protecting our sacred lands, addressing climate change, and moving renewable energy forward, so we can pass our natural treasures down to our children,” Haaland said during her response to the 17th annual State of Indian Nations on Monday.

The hearing takes place at 10am Eastern in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building. It will be webcast at youtu.be/zWadH6QTWrU.

The witness list, along with some biographical information provided by Democrats on the House Committee on Natural Resources, follows:
Majority (Democratic) Witnesses
Dr. Patrick Gonzalez, UC Berkeley, National Park Service
Dr. Gonzalez serves as Associate Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and as Principal Climate Change Scientist for the National Park Service. He is coordinating lead author for the Southwest for the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment and is a lead author on four reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organization awarded a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Gonzalez is the lead author of the first comprehensive study of climate change in U.S. national parks, which found that parks are experiencing disproportionate heat and aridity under human-caused climate change.

Dr. Lara Hansen, EcoAdapt, Bainbridge Island, Washington
Dr. Hansen is the co-founder, board president, chief scientist, and executive director of EcoAdapt, an organization that focuses on science to generate implementable climate change adaptation solutions. She has served on the IPCC, was a Switzer Environmental Fellow, and co-authored one of the earliest texts on natural system adaptation to climate change.

Mr. Hans Cole, Patagonia, Inc., Ventura, California
Mr. Cole is the Environmental Campaigns and Advocacy Director at Patagonia, Inc. Patagonia has been active in recognizing the importance of public lands in solving some of our most pressing environmental issues. It has fought back against Trump administration attempts to alter or sell off public lands, most notably by taking on President Trump’s decision to alter national monuments, including those at Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Minority (Republican) Witness
Elaine Oneil, Oneil Forest Research and Management, Tenino, Washington

House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Notice
Subcommittee Hearing: Climate Change and Public Lands: Examining Impacts and Considering Adaptation Opportunities (February 13, 2019)

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