Interior's Sustainability Plan Seeks to Lessen Department's Carbon Footprint and Meet Energy Goals

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior today released a Sustainability Plan that outlines Department-wide goals and strategies to meet or exceed environmental and energy performance requirements as directed by President Barack Obama. The White House announced the Department's “Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan” in coordination with sustainability plans prepared by other federal agencies in response to an October 2009 Executive Order from President Obama in which he directed each agency, for the first time, to submit such plans.

“With our responsibilities for conserving our nation's lands, water, wildlife, and resources, the Department of the Interior must set the standard for sustainability practices,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “President Obama's leadership is putting our sustainability programs into high gear and we will work hard to achieve these goals.”

In submitting the plan to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Interior Assistant Secretary for Policy Management and Budget Rhea Suh said: “Our commitment is evidenced by the implementation of a department-level environmental management system (EMS) to manage and track progress on achieving the goals set out by the President.” Suh serves as the Department's Senior Sustainability Officer and chair of the DOI Sustainability Council, which is responsible for promoting and managing the EMS. She notes that the EMS and Sustainability Council will provide robust oversight.

The report details Interior's efforts to install renewable energy systems at wildlife refuges, parks and science centers around the nation, increase the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet to exceed emission reduction goals and increase use of alternative fuels. Additionally, the Department has initiated a “Green DOI Challenge” designed to solicit ideas from employees on how to green the Department.

Interior's 91-page report, found at, sets out specific strategies for meeting the FY 2020 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals of the Department, including:

• reducing building energy intensity and the use of fossil fuels in buildings and vehicle fleets;

• reducing purchased electricity and increasing use of renewable electricity;

• implementing on-site renewable energy generation projects;

• switching to natural gas where available;

• implementing lower-carbon travel alternatives;

• increasing recycling; and

• promoting use of mass transit.

In addition to the Department's efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses, Secretary Salazar's Climate Change Adaptation Initiative will arm resource managers with the tools they need to mitigate climate impacts to lands, waters, and natural and cultural resources.


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