The Interior Department is best known for managing the nation's amazing national parks and historic sites across the country. An equally important part of Interior’s mission is supplying the energy necessary to power America. Interior is responsible for managing all the energy produced on America's federally managed lands. That includes oil, gas, coal, wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal and more.
Check out some facts about Interior’s long history in delivering power to Americans:
1. Interior’s energy history dates back over 100 years. Interior was established to handle domestic matters, and with the creation of the Bureau of Mines in 1910, Interior became responsible for mine safety and minerals technology. Over the years, Interior’s work in energy expanded to include the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey.
2. Interior surveys the nation’s energy sources. Interior's U.S. Geological Survey has a long history of providing scientific information to understand the nation's energy resources, contributing toward a sustainable and secure energy future. USGS scientists assess the nation's oil, natural gas and coal resources -- as well as study the impacts of wind and solar energy development. These investigations are key elements of Interior's role in protecting and responsibly managing the nation’s natural resources.
3. Federal lands and waters supply 30 percent of the nation’s energy production. From oil and natural gas to geothermal and solar, an all-of-the-above energy strategy ensures responsible energy development where it makes sense. Projects on Interior-managed lands are producing affordable energy to power our homes and businesses, creating jobs, and providing an average $10+ billion in annual revenue that is much-needed for state, local, federal and tribal governments.
4. Coal leases on federal lands created $14.1 billion in economic output in 2015. The Bureau of Land Management oversees coal leasing on nearly 570 million areas across the U.S. In 2015, the federal coal program supported more than 44,000 jobs in western states like Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. With advancements in technology, companies -- under the guidance of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and State Regulatory Agencies -- are restoring previously mined lands through remining to a productive state. Learn more about how Interior recognizes states, tribes and mining companies that reclaim mine sites.
5. Federal waters are a significant source of America’s energy supply. The U.S.’s Outer Continental Shelf, managed by Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, accounts for nearly 18 percent of domestic crude oil and 4 percent of domestic natural gas supply. Most recently, a Gulf of Mexico lease sale yielded $275 million in high bids. On the renewable energy front, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has awarded 12 commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast and approved transmission support for the first U.S. offshore wind energy facility. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement fosters safe and responsible offshore oil and gas operations to secure reliable energy production for America's future.
6. Interior is helping Native American tribes create sustainable economies by unlocking the energy potential of their lands. Indian reservations are largely unexplored lands that hold vast energy potential. One of the programs in Interior’s Office of Indian Affairs assists Indian energy and mineral owners in advancing economic opportunities. The program staff serve as technical resources for tribes and can be a liaison between tribes and industry when negotiating development agreements. Learn more about how the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development is helping tribes maximize their revenue.
7. Interior is the 2nd largest producer of hydropower in the United States. Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation was created in 1902 to invest in the nation’s water infrastructure, and since then, hydropower has become an important secondary function. Its 53 powerplants annually provide more than 40 billion kilowatt hours, generating nearly a billion dollars in revenues and enough electricity to power 3.5 million homes each year.
8. Interior is helping power U.S. island communities. With the cost of electricity three times higher in U.S. territories, Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs is helping the islands update their conventional energy production and electric grid as well as spurring renewable energy development. Most recently, Interior assisted American Samoa’s installation of a solar power system and battery-storage-enabled microgrid to power one of its Manu'a islands. This first-of-its-kind system will help eliminate power intermittency and save on energy costs.