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This Week at Interior, March 22, 2013


March 22, 2013


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THIS WEEK AT INTERIOR...

 

SECRETARY SALAZAR THIS WEEK ANNOUNCED THAT THE STATUE OF LIBERTY WILL RE-OPEN FOR TOURISTS BY INDEPENDENCE DAY THIS SUMMER. LIBERTY ISLAND TOOK A BEATING FROM HURRICANE SANDY IN OCTOBER, WITH DOCKS DESTROYED AND ENERGY AND SECURITY INFRASTRUCTURE HEAVILY DAMAGED. BUT THE SECRETARY SAYS THERE'S BEEN TREMENDOUS PROGRESS IN THE REPAIR EFFORT, CLEARING THE WAY TO REOPEN LADY LIBERTY BY THE FOURTH OF JULY.

 

THE SECRETARY JOINED OTHER FEDERAL AND LOCAL OFFICIALS IN THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES THIS WEEK, CELEBRATING THE COMPLETION OF A ONE-MILE LONG BRIDGE OVER THE TAMIAMI TRAIL. IT'S ALL PART OF THE ON-GOING EFFORT TO RESTORE NATURAL WATER FLOWS TO THE EVERGLADES. THE SECRETARY SAYS THE NEW BRIDGE WILL HELP RESTORE WATER QUALITY AND ENSURE THE HEALTH OF AN ICONIC LANDSCAPE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS, WHICH IN TURN HELPS CREATE JOBS AND BOOSTS THE LOCAL ECONOMY.

 

A NEW OIL AND GAS LEASE SALE FOR THE GULF OF MEXICO BROUGHT IN 1.2 BILLION DOLLARS IN HIGH BIDS, RANKING IT ONE OF THE TOP 10 LEASE SALES IN THE CENTRAL GULF. SECRETARY SALAZAR HELPED KICK OFF THE BIDDING THIS WEEK IN NEW ORLEANS... UP FOR AUCTION: 39-MILLION ACRES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. MORE THAN 50 OFF-SHORE ENERGY COMPANIES SUBMITTED MORE THAN 400 BIDS... THE AUCTION PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S ALL-OF-THE-ABOVE ENERGY STRATEGY, AND THE ADMINISTRATION'S EFFORT TO EXPAND SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE DOMESTIC ENERGY PRODUCTION.

 

ELSEWHERE IN THE GULF MOTHER NATURE CONTINUES TO BOUNCE BACK FROM HURRICANE KATRINA AND THE 2010 OIL SPILL. SECRETARY SALAZAR TOOK A TOUR OF BIG BRANCH NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE THIS WEEK, AND CALLED THE SCENE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT FROM HIS LAST VISIT THREE YEARS AGO. THE SECRETARY SAYS THE JOINT FEDERAL/STATE WETLANDS PROTECTION EFFORT THAT BEGAN IN 2007 IS A MODEL PROGRAM FOR GULF COAST RESTORATION AFTER DECADES OF EROSION AND NEGLIGENCE.

 

AND THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE THIS WEEK PUSHED BACK ITS PEAK PROJECTIONS FOR WASHINGTON D-C'S WORLD FAMOUS CHERRY BLOSSOMS. A LATE WINTER CHILL IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL MEANS THE BLOSSOMS WILL NOW REACH THEIR FULL BLOOM BETWEEN APRIL 3RD, AND APRIL 6TH. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TOURISTS JOURNEY TO WASHINGTON EACH SPRING TO TAKE IN THE BLOSSOMS, WHICH BOOSTS THE LOCAL ECONOMY BY NEARLY HALF A BILLION DOLLARS.

 

THAT'S THIS WEEK AT INTERIOR.