This Week at Interior
Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz visited Chicago this week to host a community meeting at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ. During the event, they heard views on how to tell a more complete story of America, including elevating the stories of the Civil Rights Movement that honor the lives of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley. The Church is where tens of thousands of mourners visited over the course of a four-day visitation and funeral for Emmett in 1955. His mother Mamie’s decision to have an open-casket funeral helped expose Americans to the injustices facing Black people in the United States, and was a catalyst of the modern Civil Rights Movement.
Big news in coal country this week -- Interior announced more than $300 million in investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create good-paying union jobs and advance economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland. The infrastructure law allocates $11.3 billion to help eliminate dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining. Secretary Haaland hosted legacy pollution roundtables in Kentucky and Illinois to bring together state, local and labor leaders, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders to discuss how this funding will have a transformational impact on communities across the country.
Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen Cantor this week completed her first official visits to the U.S. Territories. The Assistant Secretary has traveled over the past several weeks to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. Her visits have provided the opportunity to meet with local elected leaders, key partners and Interior staff, and to highlight recent funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the territories.
The U.S. Geological Survey this week announced it will invest about $3.2 million to collect a large swath of geophysical data focusing on critical-mineral resources in parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota and another $2.8 million for surveys along the Colorado-Wyoming border. Understanding rock formations that may contain mineral resources is a key step in securing a reliable and sustainable supply of the critical minerals, which are essential to everything from household appliances and electronics to clean energy technologies like batteries and wind turbines.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week finalized protections for the emperor penguin under the Endangered Species Act. The emperor penguin is a flightless seabird endemic to Antarctica. While populations appear to be currently stable, the Service has determined the species is in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future due to the impact of climate change on its sea-ice habitat.
This week is Bat Week, the annual worldwide celebration designed to raise awareness about the need for bat conservation. Invaluable for their roles as pest controllers and pollinators, bats can be found all over America's public and private lands, but they face numerous challenges from disease, climate change and loss of habitat. Learn more at batweek.org.
And our social media Picture of the Week, an ecological and cultural treasure, California's Sand to Snow National Monument. Encompassing 154,000 acres, the monument is home to the region’s tallest alpine mountain, and it's a favorite for camping, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, photography and wildlife viewing.
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That's This Week at Interior.
This Week: Secretary Haaland visits Chicago, paying tribute to the lives of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley; Interior announces more than $300 million in investments to create good-paying union jobs and advance economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands; the Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs completes her first official visits to the U.S. Territories; the U.S. Geological Survey makes a $6 million investment in critical minerals in the Great Plains; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes protections for the emperor penguin; we're celebrating the tiny heroes of the night during Bat Week; and our social media Picture of the Week is one of California's ecological and cultural treasures!