Top Stories of 2012



Top Stories of 2012


January 1, 2013


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AS 2012 ENTERS THE HISTORY BOOKS, HERE'S A LOOK AT SOME OF THE TOP STORIES OF THE YEAR AT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR.

A 7-POINT-5 MILLION DOLLAR DONATION TO HELP REPAIR THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT GOT THE NEW YEAR STARTED IN JANUARY. PHILANTHROPIST DAVID RUBENSTEIN'S DONATION WILL HELP RESTORE THE MONUMENT, DAMAGED BY AN EARTHQUAKE IN AUGUST 2011 IT HAS BEEN CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC SINCE THAT QUAKE. 

IN MARCH PRESIDENT OBAMA ADDRESSED A WHITE HOUSE CONSERVATION CONFERENCE, WHICH BROUGHT TOGETHER HUNDREDS OF CONSERVATION LEADERS FROM ALL 50 STATES... THE CONFERENCE AIMED AT ADVANCING COMMUNITY-DRIVEN CONSERVATION AND OUTDOOR RECREATION INITIATIVES TO HELP CREATE STRONG LOCAL ECONOMIES, AND A HEALTHIER ENVIRONMENT.

A ONE HUNDRED YEAR ANNIVERSARY AT THE TIDAL BASIN IN WASHINGTON D-C SECRETARY SALAZAR JOINED FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA AND JAPANESE OFFICIALS TO MARK THE DATE IN 19-12 WHEN THE FIRST OF THOUSANDS OF CHERRY TREES WERE PLANTED, A GIFT FROM THE PEOPLE OF JAPAN. NOW THE ANNUAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL DRAWS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS TO THE NATION'S CAPITAL EACH YEAR. 

NATIONAL PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES LIKELY TO SEE A BIG BOOST IN ATTENDANCE, THANKS TO A NEW FREE PASS FOR MILITARY MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES. THE PASS IS PART OF THE JOINING FORCES INITIATIVE, TO GIVE BACK TO MILITARY MEMBERS FOR THEIR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE.  

IN JUNE IT WAS A BIG STEP TO EXPAND SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE DOMESTIC ENERGY PRODUCTION, WITH THE ANNOUNCED SALE OF 39-MILLION ACRES OF OIL AND GAS LEASES IN THE CENTRAL GULF OF MEXICO. PART OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATIONS *ALL OF THE ABOVE* ENERGY STRATEGY, THE SALE AIMS AT IMPROVING THE ECONOMY OF THE GULF, AND TO BRING ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO MARKET. THAT SALE FOLLOWED BY AN ADDITIONAL 38-MILLION ACRE SALE IN SEPTEMBER.

A PICKUP BASKETBALL GAME TO HELP CELEBRATE WOMEN'S EQUALITY... SECRETARY SALAZAR PLAYING HOST TO CABINET SECRETARIES, LOCAL LEADERS AND FEMALE ATHLETES, ALL TO CELEBRATE THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF TITLE 9, THE LANDMARK FEDERAL LAW BANNING DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION AND ATHLETICS.

IN OCTOBER SECRETARY SALAZAR JOINED PRESIDENT OBAMA TO ANNOUNCE A NEW NATIONAL MONUMENT TO CIVIL RIGHTS AND UNITED FARM WORKERS LEADER CESAR CHAVEZ. THE SITE IS LOCATED NEAR BAKERSVILLE, CALIFORNIA. IT ONCE SERVED AS CHAVEZ' HOME AND OPERATIONAL HEADQUARTERS.

ALSO IN OCTOBER THE SECRETARY GAVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO A LANDMARK WYOMING WIND PROJECT SECRETARY SALAZAR ANNOUNCED THE APPROVAL OF THE CHOKECHERRY AND SIERRA MADRE WIND ENERGY PROJECT SITE. THE PROPOSED COMPLEX COULD GENERATE A THOUSAND JOBS, ALONG WITH UP TO THREE-THOUSAND MEGAWATTS OF POWER IN SOUTHEASTERN WYOMING...MEETING THE PRESIDENT'S GOAL OF A TOTAL 10-THOUSAND MEGAWATTS, GENERATED ON U-S PUBLIC LANDS.

OFFICIALS THROUGHOUT THE DEPARTMENT CONTINUE TO GET A HANDLE ON THE DAMAGE LEFT BEHIND BY HURRICANE SANDY AS OCTOBER CAME TO A CLOSE. NEARLY 70 NATIONAL PARKS AND DOZENS OF WILD LIFE REFUGES TOOK MAJOR HITS FROM THE SUPER STORM, INCLUDING 15 PARKS IN THE IMMEDIATE NEW YORK CITY AREA. THE SECRETARY SAID THE GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO RESTORING ALL THE SITES AND GETTING THEM REOPENED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

IN DECEMBER SECRETARY SALAZAR JOINED LEADERS FROM MORE THAN 500 FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES AND OTHER SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AT THE WHITE HOUSE TRIBAL NATIONS CONFERENCE, HOSTED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA. ITíS THE FOURTH CONFERENCE OF ITS KIND FOR THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, AND BUILDS ON THE PRESIDENT'SMMITMENT TO STRENGTHEN THE NATION-TO-NATION RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIAN COUNTRY.

AND IN MID-DECEMBER INTERIOR LAUNCHED A BUY-BACK PROGRAM FOR TRIBAL NATIONS, AIMED AT MANAGING A ONE-POINT NINE BILLION DOLLAR TRUST FUND FOR LAND CONSOLIDATION. THE PLAN IS BASED ON CONSULTATION WITH THE TRIBES. IT OUTLINES HOW THE DEPARTMENT WILL CARRY OUT THE CERTAIN PARTS OF THE LANDMARK COBELL SETTLEMENT FOR THE TRIBAL NATIONS' ECONOMIC AND SOVEREIGN INTERESTS.

THAT'S A LOOK AT JUST *SOME* OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN 2012, AT INTERIOR.