WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced that the three draft reports from the Department’s Climate Change Task Force would be made available online for the public to review. The Secretary’s announcement came during remarks to the National Climate Change and Wildlife Center Workshop at which Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett delivered the keynote address.
Secretary Kempthorne created the Climate Change Task Force in 2007, directing the members to look at how possible climate changes would affect disaster management, water resource management, and wildlife and habitat management of the lands, wildlife, and resources for which the Department has responsibility and to develop options for management responses to those effects. The Task Force is made up of three subcommittees - one focused on legal and policy issues; a second on land and water management issues; and a third on climate change scientific issues specifically related to Interior’s responsibilities. More than 100 Department of the Interior employees, primarily career staff, participated on the Task Force.
“I am proud of the work of those who took part in the Task Force. More than 100 Interior employees participated on this Task Force, comprising more than 1,000 years of experience. They are biologists, hydrologists, engineers, lawyers, land managers. They work in the field, in our regions, and in Washington,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “Through our Climate Change Task Force, we are illuminating our biggest challenges, prioritizing our actions, and coordinating with the USGS and the broader scientific community to identify prudent response strategies,"
The Task Force is made up of three subcommittees - one focused on legal and policy issues; a second on land and water management issues; and a third on climate change scientific issues specifically related to Interior’s responsibilities. More than 100 Department of the Interior employees, primarily career staff, participated on the Task Force.
The Reports include more than 80 options on how the Department could prepare and respond to climatic changes on the lands it manages. The report does not include budgetary, regulatory, legislative, or policy commitments, but instead provides the Secretary of the Interior, both now and in the future, with potential ideas to help fulfill the mission of the Department across changing landscapes.
Options range from developing better information-sharing tools, such as localized mapping, to assist land managers across the Department to revising building standards for areas where changes are occurring or are expected, such as melting permafrost or rising sea levels.
In addition to making the report available to the public, Secretary Kempthorne has further directed that the position of Climate Change Coordinator be created within the Department of the Interior’s Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance. The position will serve as the central clearing house within the Department for questions and practices relating to Climate Change.
Further, the Secretary has directed that a Climate Change Advisory Council, made up of assistant secretaries and bureau directors, be created within the Department. The council will meet monthly to discuss the impact and response to climate change across the Department and to exchange ideas and suggestions for how best to deal with a changing landscape.
The report may be accessed online via either www.doi.gov or usgs.gov/global_change/doi_taskforce.asp. An opportunity for public feedback on the report and the options expressed within it may also be accessed through the same websites. Public feedback will be accepted for 45 days.