Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
WASHINGTON — As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s work to prioritize equity and inclusion across the federal government, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today established the first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Council to incorporate these practices into the Department’s work across its many bureaus.
“The Interior Department has a unique responsibility to be a model for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. As we celebrate the diversity of our nation, we are actively seeking ways to create opportunities for traditionally underserved communities to enjoy increased access to and benefits of our public lands and waters,” said Secretary Haaland. “By advancing equity across the Department – from our work to spur a clean energy economy and increase access to outdoor spaces to our contracting and employment efforts – we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits all Americans.”
Establishing this council through Secretary’s Order 3406 is a proactive step toward embedding DEIA principles and actions into everything the Interior Department and its bureaus do to fulfill our mission. The DEIA Council will establish executive leadership across the Department to coordinate the development and implementation of specific policies, programs and initiatives. With representatives from senior leadership in every bureau, the Council will ensure that decision-making processes include input from employees at all levels.
The DEIA Council will support the development and use of the best available data, tools and resources to assess whether underserved communities and their members face systemic barriers to full and equal access to the Department’s services, facilities, benefits, contracts and grants, and employment opportunities.
The Council will also ensure decision-making processes are informed not only by input from employees but also stakeholder engagement and consultation processes, as appropriate.