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This Week at Interior November 15, 2013


November 15, 2013


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Hi, my name is Kevin Washburn, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. You’re watching This Week, at Interior.

 

THIS WEEK.. AT INTERIOR…

 

You represent more than 300 tribal nations, each of you with your own extraordinary heritage, each a vital part of a shared American family.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS THE FEATURED SPEAKER THIS WEEK, AT THE 2013 WHITE HOUSE TRIBAL NATIONS CONFERENCE, HOSTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. THE CONFERENCE, THE FIFTH HELD BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, GIVES REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NATION’S FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES A DIRECT PIPELINE TO THE PRESIDENT, AND THE MEMBERS OF HIS WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS, WHICH IS CHAIRED BY INTERIOR SECRETARY SALLY JEWELL. SECRETARY JEWELL TOLD THE GATHERING OF TRIBAL LEADERS THAT SHE AND THE PRESIDENT ARE COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING A GOVERNMENT TO GOVERNMENT RELATIONSHIP WITH TRIBALE NATIONS.

 

I kept hearing self-governance, and self-determination. I kept hearing ‘please recognize our tribal sovereignty.’ I kept hearing ‘please listen to us, we know what’s best for our tribes, we know what’s best for our people.’

 

Today is just one day; we listen to them year-round, but this is a very special day of listening, and we are listening, we’re working to solve problems.

 

THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE WAS THE LARGEST GATHERING OF TRIBAL MEMBERS SO FAR, AND THE LARGEST TURNOUT OF FEDERAL OFFICIALS, INCLUDING 13 CABINET MEMBERS, IN ATTENDANCE.

 

INTERIOR THIS WEEK GAVE THE THUMBS UP TO THE MAJORITY OF THE PROPOSED GATEWAY WEST TRANSMISSION LINE PROJECT… THAT’S A 990-MILE, HIGH VOLTAGE LINE THAT COULD DELIVER UP TO 1500 MEGAWATTS OF POWER IN SOUTHERN WYOMING AND SOUTHERN IDAHO. IT’S ALL PART OF THE PRESIDENT’S COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY FOR TRANSFORMING THE NATION’S POWER GRID, AND SPURRING RENEWABLE ENERGY. SECRETARY JEWELL SAYS GATEWAY WEST WILL STRENGTHEN THE WESTERN U.S. POWER GRID, PART OF A DIVERSIFIED ARRAY OF RENEWABLE AND CONVENTIONAL ENERGY SOURCES AIMED AT MEETING THE REGION’S GROWING ENERGY NEEDS.

 

ANOTHER HIGH-FLOW RELEASE THIS WEEK AT THE GLEN CANYON DAM IN ARIZONA ...THE SECOND UNDER A PLAN APPROVED LAST YEAR. THE GOAL OF THE RELEASE… TO HELP RESTORE THE ENVIRONMENT IN GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK AND GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME CONTINUING TO MEET THE WATER AND POWER NEEDS ON THE COLORADO RIVER BASIN.

 

THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE THIS WEEK DESTROYED A SIX-TON STOCK OF CONFISCATED ELEPHANT IVORY HELD AT THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE PROPERTY REPOSITORY NEAR DENVER, COLORADO... SENDING A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT THE U.S. WILL NOT TOLERATE WILDLIFE CRIME THAT THREATENS TO WIPE OUT AFRICAN ELEPHANTS AND A HOST OF OTHER SPECIES AROUND THE GLOBE. THE IVORY CRUSH IS THE LATEST IN A SERIES OF ACTIONS BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION DESIGNED TO CRACK DOWN ON INTERNATIONAL POACHING AND ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING.

 

SECRETARY JEWELL JOINS NOTED CIVIL WAR HISTORIAN JAMES MCPHERSON NEXT TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19TH IN GETTYSBURG PENNSYLVANIA, TO MARK THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S IMMORTAL ADDRESS. A WHOLE SLEW OF ACTIVITIES ARE ON TAP TO MARK THAT ANNIVERSARY...INCLUDING A NATURALIZATION CEREMONY FOR 16 PEOPLE WHO WILL BECOME AMERICAN CITIZENS. CHECK OUT DETAILS AT NPS.GOV. AND SECRETARY JEWELL AND PARK SERVICE DIRECTOR JONATHAN JARVIS ARE AMONG DOZENS OF PUBLIC FIGURES, CELEBRITIES, AND EVERYDAY PEOPLE WHO ARE FEATURED READING THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS ON DOCUMENTARIAN KEN BURNS’ WEBSITE, LEARN THE ADDRESS DOT ORG.

 

AND THE RESTORATION OF THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT IS PROCEEDING ON SCHEDULE... THE LIGHTS ON THE MONUMENT SCAFFOLDING WERE TURNED OFF LAST WEEK, AND DISMANTLING OF THE SCAFFOLDING CONTINUED THIS WEEK, AND WILL FOR THE NEXT TWO AND A HALF MONTHS. WORKERS HAVE BEEN REPAIRING CRACKS, AND REPAIRING OR REPLACING THE MARBLE STONES THAT WERE DAMAGED WHEN THAT MAGNITUDE 5.8 QUAKE STRUCK IN AUGUST 2011.

 

Most of the repairs in the Monument requiring new material have used stones from the same quarry where stone from the Monument was first put up in the 19th Century. We’ve tried to maintain the character and quality of the Washington Monument, and given the character of that stone the same type of treatment that the stone around it that wasn’t damaged from the earthquake will appear intact to the public that comes by.

 

THE PROJECT IS SCHEDULED TO BE COMPLETE IN THE SPRING OF 2014.

 

THAT’S THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.