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This Week at Interior
A busy first full week for the 54th Secretary of the Interior. After being sworn in last week as the Nation’s first Native American Cabinet Secretary, Deb Haaland held an All-Staff Forum with more than 15,000 Bureau and Office representatives Department-wide participating live. She stressed the need for all of us to work together to create new jobs in a clean energy economy, address racial inequity, honor our government to government relationships with Tribal Nations, and take the climate crisis seriously.
As part of her own on-boarding on Day One, Secretary Haaland received a briefing from the Interior Department Ethics Office. One of her first official acts as Secretary was to sign the Biden-Harris Administration’s Ethics Pledge, which she told staff reaffirmed her longstanding dedication to make decisions based exclusively in the public interest and continuing her vow to respect and abide, at all times, by the letter and the spirit of ethics laws. The Secretary has made clear that the highest ethics and integrity will guide not only her leadership but her expectations of agency employees.
The Secretary also committed Interior’s support to implementing the Administration’s American Rescue Plan to deliver immediate relief to families, businesses, Tribes, and schools across the country.
At Interior we’re committed to working with federal, state, local, Tribal and territorial governments, public health officials, health care providers, researchers and the public to execute a whole-of-government response to the COVID-19 pandemic so we can protect the health and safety of the American people.
Interior this week hosted a virtual public forum, part of its comprehensive review of the federal oil and gas program. The forum featured several panels to highlight perspectives from labor and environmental justice organizations, natural resource advocates, industry representatives, Indigenous organizations, and other experts. All this to outline next steps and recommendations for Interior and Congress to improve stewardship of public lands and waters, create jobs, and build a more equitable energy future. Members of the public can submit their input through April 15th at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good news this week for an American icon...a new report from the Fish and Wildlife Service shows the population of the American bald eagle has quadrupled since 2009. Bald eagles once teetered on the brink of extinction, but new estimates show their population in the lower-48 states has increased to well over 300-thousand, with more than 71-thousand nesting pairs. Secretary Haaland applauded the news...and said Interior will use all of the tools at its disposal, including key provisions of the Endangered Species Act, to conserve America's natural heritage and strengthen the economy.
For the first time in 100 years, the endangered California condor will return to the Pacific Northwest. The Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the Yurok Tribe announced a final rule this week that will help facilitate the creation of a new California condor release facility in Redwood National Park, which is in the northern portion of the species’ historic range.
The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a proposed solar energy project in Riverside County, California. If approved, the Oberon Solar Project would generate enough clean electricity to power 200,000 homes...it's one of the first projects seeking approval under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.
Reclamation’s Yuma Area Office has begun dredging operations above Imperial Dam on the Colorado River. The dredging will remove accumulated sediment and debris from the inlet channels to ensure the continued and efficient delivery of river water to 600-thousand acres of farmland, and the Yuma municipal area.
The National Park Service this week predicted Washington DC’s storied cherry blossoms will hit their peak bloom between April 2nd and April 5th. However, the public is encouraged to experience the cherry blossoms virtually this year, to help avoid crowding at the Tidal Basin, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All vehicular and pedestrian access around the blossoms will be limited, but you can get the best view on our Bloom Cam!
And our social media Picture of the Week, the night sky above the Pa'rus Trail at Zion National Park in Utah. Following the Virgin River in the broadest section of Zion Canyon, the trail provides daytime visitors with dramatic views of sunrises and sunsets, and at night, a sky-full of stars. Just bring some water, your mask, and your sense of wonder.
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That's This Week, at Interior.
This Week: A busy first full week for Secretary Deb Haaland, as she begins her tenure as the 54th Secretary of the Interior; the Department hosts a virtual public forum, part of its comprehensive review of the federal oil and gas program; a new report from the Fish and Wildlife Service shows the population of the American bald eagle has quadrupled since 2009; for the first time in 100 years, the endangered California condor will return to the Pacific Northwest; the Bureau of Land Management seeks public comment on a proposed solar energy project in California; the Bureau of Reclamation begins dredging operations to improve water delivery at Imperial Dam; the National Park Service wants you to enjoy this year’s cherry blossoms in Washington DC, just not in person; and a sky-full of stars lights up our social media Picture of the Week!