This Week at Interior...
Everyone in this country deserves clean water, air, and land, but for too long an unequal burden of pollution has fallen on communities of color and poor communities. For generations, we’ve put off the transition to clean energy and now we face a climate crisis. It’s a crisis that doesn’t discriminate and it is putting everyone at risk.
Secretary Haaland this week, making a call for action as the world celebrated Earth Day 2021, a global celebration encouraging education and stewardship of the planet's natural resources. The Secretary said Interior, through all its Bureaus and Offices, is working to address the climate crisis by restoring balance on public lands, and waters, advancing environmental justice, and investing in a clean energy future.
On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig cost eleven lives and spilled 134-million gallons of oil into Gulf waters. It took three months to cap that leak. In a statement this week Secretary Haaland said Interior has made progress toward ensuring that operations in the Gulf Coast remain safe and environmentally responsible -- but that much work remains to be done.
Secretary Haaland appeared this week before a House subcommittee, testifying on the Administration’s fiscal year 2022 Interior budget request. The Secretary responded to questions about addressing the needs of Native American communities, the implementation of the Great American Outdoors Act, and prioritizing a maintenance backlog at the nation’s national parks.
Secretary Haaland and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice convened the first meeting of the White House Council on Native American Affairs under the Biden-Harris Administration this week. The Secretary serves as chair of that council, made up of members from federal Departments, Agencies, and Offices. It represents the Administration’s all-of-government approach to strengthening our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribes as it takes on climate change, racial equity, economic recovery, and the COVID-19 response. The Council hasn’t met on a regular basis since 2016.
Hundreds of bird species will benefit from $80 million in funding for various wetland conservation projects in North America. The funding was approved this week by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which is chaired by Secretary Haaland.
An 18-year-old from Kansas took top honors in the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest with an acrylic painting of a pair of hooded mergansers. Margaret McMullen’s artwork will grace the 2021-2022 Junior Duck Stamp, which goes on sale June 25th. The stamp supports conservation education for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
A historic discovery announced this week in Maryland. Researchers found the remains of a cabin belonging to Ben Ross, father of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped thousands of escaped slaves find freedom via the Underground Railroad. The site sits on land acquired by the Fish and Wildlife Service last year, to help Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge withstand rising seas. Archaeologists confirmed the news after finding artifacts dating back to the 1800’s.
The Bureau of Land Management has issued $26.9 million in payments from Fiscal Year 2020 to 18 counties in western Oregon under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Most of the funding will go directly to the counties, supporting investments in education, infrastructure, public safety, and health services.
The National Park Service this week announced the launch of the first self-driving vehicle at a recreational public lands site. The shuttle will be tested for three-months at Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the site of the world’s first powered flight in 1903.
And our social media Picture of the Week, this sliver of moon floating serenely above an other-worldly landscape at Montana’s Glacier National Park. The Park contains more than 15-hundred square miles of wilderness peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border, with more than 700 miles of hiking trails to follow.
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That's This Week, at Interior.
This Week: Secretary Haaland makes a call for climate action as the world celebrates Earth Day 2021; Secretary Haaland issues a statement on the eleventh anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster; the Secretary testifies on Interior's budget before a House subcommittee; it's the first meeting of the White House Council on Native American Affairs under the Biden-Harris Administration; hundreds of bird species will benefit from $80 million in funding for various wetland conservation projects in North America; an 18-year-old from Kansas takes top honors in the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest; researchers make a historic discovery at a National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland; the Bureau of Land Management issues $26.9 million in funding for education, infrastructure, public safety, and health services in Oregon; the National Park Service launches the first self-driving vehicle at a recreational public lands site, and it's a Moon with a view in our social media Picture of the Week!