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This Week at Interior June 14, 2013


June 14, 2013


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THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR…

 

NEARLY 400 HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS GOING OUT THIS WEEK TO 19-HUNDRED COUNTIES IN 49 STATES, THREE TERRITORIES, AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA… THE FUNDS ARE KNOWN AS *PILT*, OR PAYMENT IN LIEU OF TAXES, MONEY THAT INTERIOR REIMBURSES LOCAL JURISDICTIONS WITH, FOR NON-TAXABLE FEDERAL LANDS. THE PILT PAYMENTS HELP LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CARRY OUT VITAL SERVICES, EVERYTHING FROM FIREFIGHTING AND POLICE PROTECTION, TO PUBLIC SCHOOL AND ROAD CONSTRUCTION. 

 

THIS WEEK U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE DIRECTOR DAN ASHE PAIRED UP WITH BRITISH PRIMATOLOGIST JANE GOODALL TO ANNOUNCE THE AGENCY IS PROPOSING TO PLACE ALL CHIMPANZEES ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST. WILD CHIMPS HAVE BEEN ON THAT LIST SINCE 1990, BUT CHIMPS IN CAPTIVITY HAVE BEEN LISTED AT THREATENED... ASHE SAYS HE HOPES THE MOVE WILL IGNITE RENEWED INTEREST AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE STATE OF WILD CHIMPS, WHO FACE THREATS FROM POACHING DEFORESTATION RATES.

 

SCIENTISTS, AS PART OF AN INITIATIVE BY THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT AND THE U-S GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, HAVE MADE A SURPRISING DISCOVERY... CORAL AND SEA CREATURES USUALLY FOUND IN THE GULF OF MEXICO ARE LIVING JUST 50 MILES OFF THE COAST OF THE MID-ATLANTIC. THE RESEARCH PROJECT STARTED IN 2011, AND HAS LED TO THE DISCOVERY OF A DOZEN CORAL SPECIES, ALONG WITH MUSSELS, CRABS, SHRIMP, AND OTHER SEA ANIMALS, ALL LIVING NEAR A METHANE GAS SEEP JUST SOUTH OF THE NORFOLK CANYON.  SCIENTISTS SAY THE CLUSTER OF CREATURES IS ONE OF THE LARGEST SUCH COMMUNITIES IN U-S WATERS.

 

AND REMARKABLE IMAGES RELEASED THIS WEEK, FIFTY FIVE STORIES ABOVE THE NATION'S CAPITAL... INTERIOR SECRETARY SALLY JEWELL JOINED NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DIRECTOR JON JARVIS, ALONG WITH NATIONAL MALL TRUST CHAIRMAN CHIP AKRIDGE AND PHILANTHROPIST DAVID RUBENSTEIN, FOR A JOURNEY TO THE TOP OF THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT EARTHQUAKE REPAIR SCAFFOLDING. THE ICONIC MONUMENT SUSTAINED DAMAGE WHEN THE MAGNITUDE 5-POINT-8 QUAKE STRUCK IN AUGUST 2011. REPAIR CREWS HOPE TO HAVE THAT DAMAGE REPAIRED AND THE MONUMENT RE-OPENED IN 2014. IN THE MEANTIME THE SCAFFOLDING OFFERS AMAZING VIEWS OF THE CITY 555 FEET BELOW. 

 

THAT'S THIS WEEK AT INTERIOR.