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This Week at Interior September 6, 2013


September 6, 2013


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Hi, I’m Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. And you’re watching This Week at Interior.

 

THIS WEEK… AT INTERIOR…

 

CALIFORNIA’S RIM FIRE IS NOW THE LARGEST BLAZE IN THE HISTORY OF YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK… THE FIRE STARTED AUGUST 17TH IN THE STANISLAUS NATIONAL FOREST JUST WEST OF YOSEMITE, AND MOVED INTO YOSEMITE ITSELF FIVE DAYS LATER… IT’S NOW BURNED A QUARTER MILLION ACRES, INCLUDING NEARLY 70,000 ACRES OF YOSEMITE. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE DIRECTOR JONATHAN JARVIS VISITED WITH PARK OFFICIALS OVER THE WEEKEND, OBSERVING FIRE FIGHTING OPERATIONS AND TOURING FIRE DAMAGED AREAS OF THE PARK AND SURROUNDING FORESTS. OFFICIALS SAY THE BLAZE IS NOW 80-PERCENT CONTAINED, BUT WON’T BE EXTINGUISHED COMPLETELY UNTIL LATER THIS MONTH.

 

THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT THIS WEEK COMPLETED THE NATION’S SECOND COMPETITIVE LEASE SALE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY IN FEDERAL WATERS, THIS TIME OFF THE COAST OF VIRGINIA. IT’S ALL PART OF THE PRESIDENT’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN TO CREATE JOBS, DEVELOP CLEAN ENERGY SOURCES, AND CUT CARBON POLLUTION. THE SALE’S PROVISIONAL WINNER? VIRGINIA ELECTRIC AND POWER COMPANY… VEPCO’S BIDS TOTALED $1.6 MILLION FOR NEARLY 113,000 ACRES. THAT’S AN AREA LARGE ENOUGH TO GENERATE AN ESTIMATED TWO THOUSAND MEGAWATTS… WHICH IS ENOUGH ENERGY TO POWER MORE THAN 700,000 HOMES.

 

SECRETRAY JEWELL WRAPPED UP HER TOUR OF ALASKA THIS WEEK WITH A BRIEFING FROM THE U-S GEOLOGICAL SURVEY ON THE ALASKA SCIENCE CENTER. A KEY PART OF THE PRESIDENT'S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN, THE CENTER HELPS PROVIDE INFORMATION AND DATA TO LAND MANAGERS AND DECISION-MAKERS ABOUT THE IMPACTS OF A CHANGING ARCTIC CLIMATE.

 

USGS ALSO ANNOUNCED 400 NEW TOPOGRAPHICAL MAPS OF ALASKA, THE FIRST OF AN EXPECTED 11,000 MAPS THAT WILL REPLACE OUTDATED DATA, SOME MORE THAN 50 YEARS OLD. THE NEW MAPS WILL HAVE MANY BENEFITS FOR ACTIVITIES LIKE AVIATION, RECREATION, AND PROVIDING A BASELINE FROM WHICH TO ASSESS CLIMATE CHANGE.

 

THE SECRETARY’S ALASKA TOUR ALSO INCLUDED STOPS IN THE COMMUNITIES OF KING COVE, COLD BAY, AND THE IZEMBEK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE… THE SECRETARY ALSO VISTED THE STATE’S NORTH SLOPE… SHE TOURED THE NATIONAL PETROLEUM RESERVE TO TALK ABOUT RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT AND TO SEE FIRST HAND COASTAL EROSION, AND SPENT TIME IN THE ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE… THAT’S WHERE THE SECRETARY HERSELF SHOT THIS VIDEO OF TWO POLAR BEARS TAKING A STROLL ALONG THE WINDY SHORES OF BARTER ISLAND.

 

NEXT UP… FROM THE NATION’S 49TH STATE, TO THE 50TH… IN HONOLULU THIS WEEK THE SECRETARY DELIVERED THE KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT THE 12TH ANNUAL NATIVE HAWAIIAN CONVENTION. IN HER REMARKS THE SECRETARY UNDERSCORED THE IMPORTANCE OF NATIVE HAWAIIAN ISSUES WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, AND THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE WITH THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN COMMUNITY.

 

THEN IT WAS OFF ACROSS THE PACIFIC TO THE MARSHALL ISLANDS, WHERE SECRETARY JEWELL HEADED UP A U.S. DELEGATION TO THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM… TO HIGHLIGHT AND BUILD UPON OUR HISTORIC RELATIONS WITH THE PEOPLES AND NATIONS OF THE PACIFIC. AMONG THE ITEMS ON THE AGENDA… GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SECURITY.

 

AND CONGRATULATIONS THIS WEEK TO UNITED STATES NAVY VETERAN LONNIE BEDWELL… BEDWELL IS NOW THE FIRST *COMPLETELY BLIND* SOLO KAYAKER, TO TRAVEL THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE GRAND CANYON. BEDWELL WAS GUIDED BY *TEAM RIVER RUNNER* ON HIS 16-DAY, 226 MILE JOURNEY, WHICH INCLUDED TAKING ON CLASS V RAPIDS. TEAM RIVER RUNNER IS A CHAPTER OF DISABLED SPORTS USA, A GROUP THAT WORKS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF DISABLED VETERANS, YOUNGSTERS AND ADULTS, BY PROVIDING SPORTS AND RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES.

 

THAT’S THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.