This Week, at Interior
Get ready for the first large-scale, offshore energy generator in U.S. history. Secretary Haaland was joined by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and labor leaders this week to announce the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s approval of the Vineyard Wind project. The 800-megawatt windfarm will be located about twelve nautical miles offshore Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket...it will create 36-hundred jobs and provide enough power for 400-thousand homes and businesses. Vineyard Wind will be a significant step in the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of generating thirty gigawatts of energy from offshore wind by 2030.
Secretary Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tim Vilsack outlined the dangers of the upcoming 2021 wildland fire season this week. This past year has been among the driest in decades, and that means a greater potential for devastating wildfires over much of the west and southwest. Nine out of ten wildfires are caused by human activity...check out some fire prevention tips on our blog.
This week marks National Police Week, a time to honor those who serve in the nation’s law enforcement agencies. In a virtual ceremony Secretary Haaland called the more than 36-hundred officers who work at Interior critical to protecting public safety, and ensuring that we can fulfill our promise to protect America’s resources, honor our commitments to Tribal Nations, and preserve treasured places for generations to come.
This past year, our law enforcement officers were on the frontlines during the COVID-19 crisis – they did not have the luxury of staying home. As essential workers, they put themselves at risk so that our communities could be safe and seek solace in the outdoors during this pandemic. Today, we honor the four officers who were laid to rest in 2020: Officer David Kellywood, Officer Charlie Joe Cortez, Officer Michael Lee, and Officer Bryan Brown.
Secretary Haaland this week approved a new Constitution for the Cherokee Nation, one that explicitly ensures the rights and citizenship of all Cherokee citizens, including the Cherokee Freedmen. The Freedmen descend from the former enslaved persons held by the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Muscogee Creek and Seminole Nations. The Freedmen's rights and status as tribal members of the Cherokee Nation has been a matter of dispute for more than a century and a half.
She made history last March, and she’s telling her story this week... Nicole Yamase, a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii who hails from Micronesia, became the first Pacific Islander to descend the Challenger Deep. That’s the deepest part of the Marianas Trench, which lies nearly seven miles beneath the waves. Hear all about it on Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs podcast page, or check out their You Tube channel.
Interior this week announced $150 million in National Park Service grants to create public parks and expand recreation opportunities in urban areas. The grants will be distributed through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program. The announcement comes on the heels of the Biden-Harris administration’s newly launched “America the Beautiful” initiative, which aims to support locally led, voluntary conservation and restoration efforts that address the nature and climate crises, improve equitable access to the outdoors, and strengthen the economy.
And our social media Picture of the Week comes to us from Big Bend National Park in Texas. Visitors to this remote and secluded part of the Lone Star State can explore massive canyons, vast desert expanses, forested mountains, and an ever-changing river in one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States.
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That’s This Week, at Interior.
This Week: Interior announces approval of the first large-scale, offshore energy generator in U.S. history; a long dry season unfortunately means a greater chance of devastating wildfires this year; Secretary Haaland honors fallen Interior officers during a virtual Police Week ceremony; the Secretary approves a new Constitution for the Cherokee Nation that ensures the rights and citizenship of all Cherokee citizens, including the Cherokee Freedmen; a Micronesian woman is the first Pacific Islander to descend the Challenger Deep; the National Park Service announces $150 million in grants to create public parks and expand recreation opportunities in urban areas; and we head to the Lone Star State for our social media Picture of the Week!