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This Week at Interior August 22, 2014


August 22, 2014


Secretary Jewell travels to Maine, Minnesota and Montana as part of the administration's commitment to prosperous and resilient Native American communities; the highest winning bid to date for offshore renewable energy leases off the coast of Maryland; a public-private partnership drives a conservation success story for the Arctic grayling; and it's free admission at 401 national parks to honor the National Park Service's 98th birthday.  


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THIS WEEK AT INTERIOR…

 

SECRETARY JEWELL ON THE ROAD THIS WEEK, AS PART OF THE ADMINISTRATION’S COMMITMENT TO PROSPEROUS AND RESILIENT NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES. THE SECRETARY JOINED EDUCATION SECRETARY ARNE DUNCAN AT THE BEATRICE RAFFERTY SCHOOL LOCATED ON THE PASSAMAQUODDY TRIBAL RESERVATION OF PLEASANT POINT IN PERRY, MAINE… THEY DISCUSSED EDUCATIONAL REFORM INITIATIVES TO ENSURE STUDENTS RECEIVE A HIGH QUALITY, CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE EDUCATION ATTENDING SCHOOLS FUNDED BY THE BUREAU OF INDIAN EDUCATION.

 

FROM MAINE IT WAS OFF TO MINNESOTA, AND A VISIT TO A SECOND B-I-E FUNDED SCHOOL, THE BUG-O-NAY-GE-SHIG SCHOOL ON THE LEECH LAKE BAND OF OJIBWE RESERVATION IN BENA, MINNESOTA. ORIGINALLY BUILT AS A POLE BARN, THE BUILDING WAS CONVERTED INTO A HIGH SCHOOL IN 1984.  THE BUILDING HAS SERIOUS STRUCTURAL AND SAFETY DEFICIENCIES, LACKS  PROPER INSULATION AND TECHNOLOGY, HAS POOR AIR QUALITY DUE TO MOLD AND SUFFERS FROM RODENT AND SEWAGE PROBLEMS.

 

MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF THE 63 BIE-FUNDED SCHOOLS ARE IN POOR CONDITION AND REQUIRE REPLACEMENT OR MAJOR REPAIR.

 

JEWELL SAID APPROPRIATIONS FOR BIE SCHOOL FACILITIES
 HAVE NOT KEPT PACE WITH NEED AND VOWED TO CONTINUE WORKING TO ENSURE STUDENTS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED IN A SAFE AND SECURE ENVIRONMENT. 

 

FINALLY IT WAS ON TO MONTANA, TO MEET WITH THE LEADERS OF THE CONFEDERATED SALISH AND KOOTENAI TRIBES… DURING THE VISIT THE SECRETARY ISSUED A NEW SECRETARIAL ORDER, WHICH RE-AFFIRMS THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR’S TRUST RESPONSIBILITIES TO FEDERALLY-RECOGNIZED INDIAN TRIBES AND INDIVIDUAL INDIAN BENEFICIARIES… THE ORDER PROVIDES PRINCIPLES THAT APPLY TO *ALL* INTERIOR AGENCIES THAT DO BUSINESS WITH NATIVE AMERICANS, AND IT’S ALL PART OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S EFFORT TO STRENGTHEN THE GOVERNMENT TO GOVERNMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH TRIBAL NATIONS AND FULFILL FEDERAL TRUST OBLIGATIONS. FIND OUT MORE AT DOI.GOV.

 

EIGHT POINT SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS FOR EIGHTY THOUSAND ACRES… THAT WAS THE PROVISIONAL WINNING BID THIS WEEK FOR TWO WIND ENERGY AREAS OFF THE COAST OF MARYLAND. IT WAS THE THIRD COMPETITIVE LEASE SALE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY IN FEDERAL WATERS HELD BY THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT… THE WINNING BID CAME AFTER NINETEEN ROUNDS FROM US WIND INCORPORATED, AND IS THE HIGHEST WINNING BID FOR OFFSHORE RENEWABLE ENERGY TO DATE… WHEN FULLY CONSTRUCTED THE AREA COULD GENERATE ENOUGH ENERGY TO POWER ABOUT 300-THOUSAND HOMES.

 

A PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP OF FEDERAL AND STATE AGENCIES AND LANDOWNERS HAS SPELLED A CONSERVATION SUCCESS STORY FOR THE ARCTIC GRAYLING, A FISH MOSTLY FOUND IN MONTANA. THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE THIS WEEK ANNOUNCED THE GRAYLING WILL *NOT* REQUIRE PROTECTION UNDER THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT, BECAUSE OF IMPROVED CONDITIONS IN THE UPPER MISSOURI RIVER BASIN. THE GRAYLING’S POPULATION HAS MORE THAN DOUBLED SINCE 2006 THANKS TO STREAM RESTORATION, AND VOLUNTARY IRRIGATION FLOW REDUCTIONS IN THE BIG HOLE AND CENTENNIAL VALLEYS. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE DIRECTOR DAN ASHE CALLED THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE EFFORT A MODEL FOR CONSERVATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY. 

 

AND THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE IS CELEBRATING ITS 98TH BIRTHDAY AUGUST 25TH 

WITH FREE ADMISSION TO *ALL* OF ITS 401 NATIONAL PARKS. THERE’S A HOST OF SPECIAL EVENTS TAKING PLACE COAST TO COAST… FIND OUT MORE AT NPS-GOV.

 

THAT’S THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.