This Week at Interior
Secretary Haaland took part in a White House event this week focused on the critical need to strengthen prevention, preparedness and response efforts for this wildfire season, which is on track to outpace last season. In her remarks, the Secretary announced that, thanks to the President’s leadership, Interior will provide incentives and bonuses to nearly 2,900 firefighters – to help keep them on the firelines where we need them this year.
The threat of western wildfires this year is as severe as it's ever been. And I wanted to convene this group of governors, of western state governors, key members of my Cabinet, FEMA leadership, and the leadership from utility industries, and senior members of our White House team, to make sure we're doing everything, and I mean this sincerely, we’re doing everything possible to help you prepare for what's coming.
Secretary Haaland met with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Senator Tim Kaine this week to discuss offshore wind energy opportunities. The Biden-Harris administration is committed to achieving 30 gigawatts of clean offshore wind energy by 2030, creating nearly 80,000 good-paying union jobs while also fighting climate change.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced two environmental reviews and public comment periods for two wind energy projects this week: the Vineyard Wind South project offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and a proposed wind energy facility offshore Virginia Beach. If approved, Vineyard Wind would be allowed to construct and operate a wind energy facility capable of generating about 23-hundred megawatts. The other project located approximately 23.5 nautical miles offshore Virginia calls for construction and operation of up to 205 turbines capable of generating up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity.
The Bureau of Land Management this week applauded MGM Resorts in Las Vegas as the power started flowing from the MEGA Solar Array project. The array is located within the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone on 715 acres of public land managed by the BLM Las Vegas Field Office. The MEGA Solar Array is capable of generating 130 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.
Interior announced the transfer of all lands comprising the National Bison Range from the Fish and Wildlife Service to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The land, made up of nearly 19,000 acres, will be held in trust for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation in Montana. The National Bison Range was established in 1908, the first time Congress appropriated tax dollars to buy land specifically to preserve wildlife.
The 2021-2022 Federal Duck Stamp, and its younger sibling, the Junior Duck Stamp, are now available for purchase. The Duck Stamp plays a critically important role in wildlife conservation. Since 1934, sales of this stamp have raised more than $1.1 billion to protect over 6 million acres of wetlands habitat on national wildlife refuges around the nation.
The National Park Service this week reopened the pedestal observation deck of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, which has been closed for pandemic reasons. You'll need an advanced ticket reservation, and capacity is being kept at fifty percent. The statue's crown will remain closed until a future reopening phase.
And our social media Picture of the Week shows exactly how good things come to those who wait, especially on America's public lands. Here our fearless photographer captured the precise moment that an arch along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore caught fire in a breathtaking sunset. The lakeshore is a northern Michigan treasure, where guests can explore fifteen miles of sandstone cliffs along Lake Superior...and once in awhile, snap a superior picture.
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Have a safe and happy Independence Day holiday!
That’s This Week, at Interior.
This Week: Secretary Haaland takes part in a White House event focused on fighting and preventing wildfires; the Secretary meets with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Senator Tim Kaine to discuss offshore wind energy opportunities; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announces environmental reviews of two proposed Atlantic wind energy projects; solar power is up and running at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas; Interior announces the transfer of all lands comprising the National Bison Range from the Fish and Wildlife Service to the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the 2021-2022 Federal Duck Stamp, and its younger sibling, the Junior Duck Stamp, are now available for purchase; the National Park Service reopens the pedestal for visitors at the Statue of Liberty National Monument; and we'll show you why a "superior" sunset is our social media Picture of the Week!