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This Week at Interior February 28, 2014


February 28, 2014


Governors, representatives and other delegates from American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands meet with Federal officials and agencies at the 2014 Interagency Group Meeting on Insular Affairs; more.


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I’m Matt Reilly, I’m Hayley Powell, I’m Rebecca Brown, I’m Jarred Kay...and you’re watching This Week at Interior.

 

THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR…

 

SECRETARY JEWELL JOINED WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS DAVID AGNEW THIS WEEK, TO co-HOST THE ANNUAL INTERAGENCY GROUP MEETING ON INSULAR AREAS… THE IGIA 2014 SENIOR PLENARY SESSION MET TO FOCUS ON THE NEEDS AND CHALLENGES FACED BY COMMUNITIES IN THE U.S.-AFFILIATED ISLAND TERRITORIES OF AMERICAN SAMOA, GUAM, THE U-S VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS. GOVERNORS AND REPRESENTATIVES MET WITH FEDERAL AGENCIES AND OFFICIALS TO DISCUSS EFFORTS TO GROW THEIR ECONOMIES, CREATE JOBS, INCREASE SKILLS TRAINING, AND IMPROVE EDUCATION.

 

This is my first time coming up to Washington DC as part of a delegation. The experience is excellent. It’s a very targeted group...we try to use the limited time we have to hit all the different agencies that we work with on a continuous basis.

Their voices are extremely important. We know that. That’s why we have this forum. That’s why we come together. And I think it’s important to remember, this forum, while we meet once a year, the amount of work that’s going on behind the scenes throughout the course of the year is equally important...more important, really...the Department of the Interior has staff dedicated to these issues every single day. Around that table today you had representatives from almost every single Cabinet agency. That chance to converse face to face and to understand how specific decisions and how specific laws impact the residents of these particular places is extremely important.

 

It’s part of the role of the Department of the Interior to think these things through, to be a conduit for those concerns or those opportunities to make sure that our lawmakers recognize the impact on the territories of the U.S. that they may not otherwise be thinking about.

 

BY A VOTE OF 97 TO NOTHING THE U.S. SENATE HAS CONFIRMED MICHAEL CONNOR TO SERVE AS DEPUTY SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. CONNOR, A NATIVE NEW MEXICAN, HAS BEEN COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION SINCE 2009. SECRETARY JEWELL IS APPLAUDING CONNOR’S CONFIRMATION, SAYING HE’S EXACTLY THE RIGHT PERSON TO LEAD THIS DEPARTMENT… THOUGHTFUL, SMART, ORGANIZED AND FULL OF ENERGY. DEPUTY COMMISSIONER LOWELL PIMLEY WILL SERVE AS ACTING COMMISSIONER OF RECLAMATION.

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK… IT WAS 95 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK THAT THE GRAND CANYON GAINED ITS OFFICIAL DESIGNATION AS A NATIONAL PARK. PRIOR TO THAT THE CANYON HAD BEEN PROCLAIMED AS A NATIONAL GAME PRESERVE BY PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT, WHO FAMOUSLY SAID OF THE GRAND CANYON “YOU CANNOT IMPROVE ON IT...THE AGES HAVE BEEN AT WORK ON IT, AND MAN CAN ONLY MAR IT.”

 

AND SOME YOUNG OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS HAD A CHANCE TO VISIT WITH SECRETARY JEWELL THIS WEEK… 17-YEAR OLDS JARRED KAY, HAYLEY POWELL, AND REBECCA BROWN, AND 18-YEAR OLD MATT REILLY, WERE AMONG THE FIVE WINNERS OF THE SPORTSMEN FOR RESPONSIBLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT ESSAY CONTEST. THE ESSAYS’ THEME: “THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC LANDS TO ME.” THE CONTEST WINNERS GOT A FREE TRIP TO THE NATION’S CAPITAL TO MEET WITH THEIR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATIONS AND OTHER OFFICIALS... SECRETARY JEWELL SAYS

ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE WITH THE GREAT OUTDOORS IS AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY TO BUILD THE NEXT GENERATION OF OUTDOOR STEWARDS AND SCIENTISTS…

 

THAT’S THIS WEEK, AT INTERIOR.