Subscribe

Email Updates
Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.

Subscribe

Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.

Subscribe

Email Updates
Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.

Subscribe

Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.
Email Updates
Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.
twitter facebook youtube tumblr instagram Google+ flickr
Resources for:

Health insurance that works for you - and your employees
Share

Video



This Year at Interior 2013 Part Two


January 3, 2014


Video will appear here.

Download Video [Right-Click and Select "Save As"]


Transcript

THIS WEEK AT INTERIOR, PART TWO OF OUR LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE BIGGEST STORIES OF 20-13…

 

FOR MUCH OF THE NORTHEAST UNITED STATES, 2013 WAS A YEAR TO REBUILD FROM THE DEVASTATION CAUSED BY HURRICANE SANDY… THE OCTOBER 2012 SUPERSTORM CAUSED MORE THAN 150 DEATHS, AND WAS SECOND ONLY TO HURRICANE KATRINA IN TERMS OF DAMAGE, SOME ESTIMATED 65 BILLION DOLLARS WORTH. INTERIOR WAS AMONG SEVERAL FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL AGENCIES JOINING FORCES TO HELP RESTORE COMMUNITIES AND INFRASTRUCTURE BATTERED BY THE STORM… IN MAY SECRETARY JEWELL ANNOUNCED THE RELEASE OF $475 MILLION DOLLARS IN DISASTER RELIEF FUNDING… THE MONEY TO REPAIR, REBUILD, AND RE-OPEN PARKS, REFUGES, AND OTHER INTERIOR 

ASSETS THAT WERE DAMAGED BY THE STORM.

THROUGHOUT THE REST OF 2013, INTERIOR WOULD ROLL OUT A NUMBER OF PROJECTS,  GRANTS AND JOBS PROGRAMS AIMED AT RESTORING COASTAL WETLANDS TO PROTECT THEM FROM FUTURE STORMS.

 

FOR MORE THAN HALF THE NATION IN 2013, THE STORY WASN’T A STORM, IT WAS EXTREME DROUGHT CONDITIONS, AND THE EVER-PRESENT DANGER OF WILDFIRES. IN MAY, SECRETARY JEWELL TOOK TO THE SKIES OVER IDAHO WITH BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT SMOKEJUMPERS AT THE NATIONAL INTERAGENCY FIRE CENTER IN BOISE, AND SAW FIRSTHAND HOW FORCES ARE DEPLOYED WHEN A FIRE IS FIRST REPORTED. LATER THE SECRETARY JOINED U.S. AGRICULTURE SECRETARY TOM VILSACK TO EXPLAIN HOW FEDERAL AGENCIES ARE COLLABORATING IN THE EFFORT TO PROTECT AMERICANS FROM WILDFIRES.

 

IN JUNE NINETEEN FIREFIGHTERS LOST THEIR LIVES FIGHTING THE YARNELL FIRE IN ARIZONA. SECRETARY JEWELL VISITED THE INCIDENT COMMAND POSTS AND DIRECTED FLAGS TO BE FLOWN AT HALF-MAST AT ALL INTERIOR ASSETS IN HONOR OF THE FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS... AND SHE PLEDGED WHATEVER ASSISTANCE  INTERIOR COULD PROVIDE. SHE WOULD LATER TESTIFY ON CAPITOL HILL, TELLING LAWMAKERS THAT THE EXTENDED DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN THE WESTERN STATES COULD CONTRIBUTE TO A RECORD NUMBER OF WILDFIRES. IN AUGUST THE NATIONAL MULTI-AGENCY COORDINATING GROUP ELEVATED THE NATIONAL FIRE PREPAREDNESS TO LEVEL FIVE, THE HIGHEST LEVEL, FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN THE LAST TEN YEARS… AT THAT POINT NEARLY 32-THOUSAND WILDFIRES HAD ALREADY BURNED SOME THREE AND A HALF MILLION ACRES. BUT THE WORST FIRE OF THE SEASON WAS ABOUT TO BREAK OUT... THE RIM FIRE WOULD BE THE LARGEST BLAZE IN THE HISTORY OF YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, AND ONE OF THE LARGEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. THE FIRE WAS LARGELY CONTAINED BY THE END OF AUGUST, BUT SOME AREAS WOULD CONTINUE BURNING INTO OCTOBER.

 

ON A HOT DAY IN JUNE PRESIDENT OBAMA RELEASED HIS CLIMATE ACTION PLAN TO CREATE JOBS AND CUTE CARBON POLLUTION.

 

As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act. (Applause.)

 

THE PLAN HAS INTERIOR PLAYING AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN TAKING STEPS TO BOTH CUT CARBON POLLUTION, AND TO EXPAND HOMEGROWN clean ENERGY. PRESIDENT OBAMA CALLED IT OUR MORAL OBLIGATION TO LEAVE BEHIND A CLEANER, MORE STABLE ENVIRONMENT... 

IN AUGUST, AS PART OF THE PRESIDENT’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN, THE SECRETARY TRAVELED THROUGH NORTH DAKOTA’S BAKKEN REGION, AND INSPECTED NEW INNOVATIVE  TECHNOLOGIES USED BY SOME COMPANIES TO CAPTURE NATURAL GAS AND REDUCE METHANE EMISSIONS.

SHE TOURED ALASKA IN SEPTEMBER, WHERE CLIMATE CHANGE HAS BEEN A CONSTANT REFRAIN, WHETHER TALKING TO NATIVE ALASKANS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES, ENERGY PRODUCERS, OR THOSE WHO STAFF THE ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ALSO A KEY AGENDA ITEM AS SECRETARY JEWELL HEADED UP THE U-S DELEGATION IN SEPTEMBER TO THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM IN THE MARSHALL ISLANDS.

AND INTERIOR PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN THE PART OF THE PRESIDENT’S PLAN THAT AIMS TO CREATE JOBS BY DEPLOYING DOMESTIC CLEAN ENERGY RESOURCES.

 

THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT 

THIS YEAR OVERSAW THE NATION’S VERY FIRST COMPETITIVE LEASE SALES FOR COMMERCIAL OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY LEASING, THE FIRST OFF THE COAST OF NEW ENGLAND, THE SECOND OFFSHORE VIRGINIA. AND BY YEAR’S END A THIRD SITE HAD BEEN PROPOSED, THIS ONE OFF THE COAST OF MARYLAND… INTERIOR’S EFFORTS ARE ALL PART OF ACHIEVING THE CLIMATE ACTION PLAN’S GOAL OF APPROVING  20-THOUSAND MEGAWATTS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY ON PUBLIC LANDS BY 2020.

 

2013 MARKED ANOTHER IMPORTANT YEAR IN STRENGTHENING THE NATION TO NATION RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIAN COUNTRY AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT.

 

IN A CEREMONY HELD AT INTERIOR IN MARCH, THE PRESIDENT SIGNED THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT. THE UPDATED LAW INCLUDES IMPORTANT PROVISIONS FOR FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBAL COMMUNITIES.

 

THE ONE-POINT-NINE BILLION DOLLAR LAND BUYBACK PROGRAM ESTABLISHED UNDER THE COBELL SETTLEMENT TOOK SEVERAL STEPS FORWARD THIS YEAR… THE LAND BUYBACK INITIATIVE HELPS FREE LOCKED UP LAND INTERESTS ACROSS INDIAN COUNTRY BY GIVING INTERESTED INDIVIDUAL OWNERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS FOR VOLUNTARILY SELLING THEIR LAND AND PUTTING INTO A FEDERAL TRUST. 

 

THIS IN TURN MAKES THE LAND EASIER TO DEVELOP FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE TRIBE OF JURISDICTION. 

 

AND NOW TRIBES WITH THE MOST FRACTIONATED LANDS ARE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE LAND BUYBACK PROGRAM RIGHT AWAY - PROVIDING MORE FLEXIBILITY AND TRANSPARENCY FOR MORE TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS. 

 

IN AUGUST THE SECRETARY CONVENED THE FIRST MEETING OF THE WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS… TO MAKE FEDERAL AGENCIES WORK BETTER TOGETHER TO ADVANCE THE INTERESTS OF FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES. 

 

AND IN NOVEMBER MORE THAN 500 TRIBAL NATIONS SENT THEIR REPRESENTATIVES TO THE FIFTH WHITE HOUSE TRIBAL NATIONS CONFERENCE, HOSTED BY INTERIOR… THE CONFERENCE GIVES REPRESENTATIVES A DIRECT PIPELINE TO THE PRESIDENT, AND THE MEMBERS OF HIS WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS AND THE PRESIDENT’S CABINET. THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE WAS THE LARGEST GATHERING OF TRIBAL MEMBERS SO FAR, AND INCLUDED THE PARTICIPATION OF THIRTEEN MEMBERS OF THE CABINET.

THROUGHOUT ALL OF 2013 SECRETARY JEWELL PURSUED A TOP PRIORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT… TO FORGE A DEEP AND ABIDING CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUNG PEOPLE, AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS. IN HER SPEECH AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB IN OCTOBER, THE SECRETARY FULLY OUTLINED HER CONSERVATION VISION AND GOAL OF ENGAGING THE NEXT GENERATION IN UNDERSTANDING AND STEWARDING PUBLIC LANDS.

 

The millennial generation, representing my children, now young adults aged 18 to 33, is larger, it’s more urban, and it’s more diverse than any generation in our history. But research also shows that this generation cares deeply about the planet and wants to make a difference in their careers. Yet they’ve grown up being more disconnected from the natural world than ever before….We’re going to need a whole new generation of wildlife biologists, of park rangers, of scientists, and other professionals, to care for our lands and waters.

 

THE SECRETARY CALLED FOR PARTNERSHIPS IN ALL 50 STATES BY 2017 TO CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION… TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR AT LEAST TEN MILLION K THRU 12 STUDENTS EACH YEAR… TO ENGAGE A MILLION YOUTH VOLUNTEERS IN SUPPORT OF PUBLIC LANDS… AND PROVIDE 100-THOUSAND WORK AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES TO THE NATION’S YOUNG PEOPLE.

 

AND 2013 WAS A YEAR WHEN MANY OF US PAUSED TO MARK THE ANNIVERSARIES OF HISTORIC EVENTS THAT STILL SHAPE OUR LIVES… 

 

IN JULY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF VISITORS DESCENDED UPON GETTSYBURG, PENNSYLVANIA… TO REMEMBER THE THREE DAYS IN JULY OF 1863 WHEN TWO ARMIES, ONE WEARING UNION BLUE, THE OTHER CONFEDERATE GRAY, BATTLED HERE IN AN EPIC STRUGGLE THAT WOULD HELP TO TURN THE TIDE OF THE CIVIL WAR. BUT THAT WAS ONLY HALF OF THE ANNIVERSARY STORY… 

SECRETARY JEWELL WAS AMONG THE THOUSANDS WHO TRAVELED TO GETTYSBURG IN NOVEMBER, TO MARK THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. THAT SPEECH, A MERE 272 WORDS AND DELIVERED IN JUST OVER TWO MINUTES, WAS PART OF THE NOVEMBER 1863 CEREMONY DEDICATING THE SOLDIERS NATIONAL CEMETERY FOR THOSE WHO HAD FALLEN IN THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG SOME FOUR AND HALF MONTHS EARLIER. 

 

IN WASHINGTON THE MEMORIAL TO PRESIDENT LINCOLN WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF ANOTHER ANNIVERSARY IN 2013, THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON, AND DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR’S IMMORTAL “I HAVE A DREAM” SPEECH. 

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA JOINED FORMER PRESIDENTS CLINTON AND CARTER AND MANY OTHER LUMINARIES, ON THE VERY STEPS WHERE DR. KING SPOKE ON AUGUST 28, 1963.

 

The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history, that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We'll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.

 

THAT’S A LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE BIGGEST STORIES OF 2013… BEST WISHES FOR A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR, FROM THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.