Secretarial Order Addresses Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Lands and Oceans
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today launched the Department of the Interior's first-ever coordinated strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change on America's land, water, ocean, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources.
“Across the country, Americans are experiencing first-hand the impacts of climate change, from growing pressure on water supplies to more intense droughts and fires to rampant bark beetle infestations,” said Salazar. “Because Interior manages one-fifth of our nation's landmass and 1.7 billion acres on the Outer Continental Shelf, it is imperative that we tackle these impacts of a failed and outdated energy policy. This secretarial order is another milestone in our continuing effort to change how Interior does business to respond to the energy and climate challenges of our time.”
The secretarial order signed today at Interior's command center establishes a framework through which Interior bureaus will coordinate climate change science and resource management strategies. Under the framework:
“The unprecedented scope of climate change impacts requires Interior bureaus and agencies to work together, and with other federal, state, tribal and local governments, and private landowner partners, to develop landscape-level strategies for understanding and responding to climate change impacts,” said Salazar.
In addition to coordinating DOI's response to the impacts of climate change, the Climate Change Response Council will oversee the DOI Carbon Storage Project, through which the Department of the Interior is developing methodologies for both geological (i.e., underground) and biological (e.g., forests and rangelands) carbon storage, and the DOI Carbon Footprint Project, through which DOI will develop a unified greenhouse gas emission reduction program, including setting a baseline and reduction goal for the Department's greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.
Today's Secretarial Order builds on Secretarial Order No. 3285, issued on March 11, 2009, which prioritized development of renewable energy on public lands and offshore waters in order to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil and to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Interior plays a lead role in helping the nation address the impacts of climate change.
Through the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, Minerals Management Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior oversees one-fifth of the nation's landmass and 1.7 billion acres on the Outer Continental Shelf, supplies drinking water to more than 31 million people and irrigation water to 140,000 farmers, manages iconic wildlife species from the Arctic to the Everglades, holds trust responsibilities on behalf of the federal government for over 500 tribal nations, and is home to the nation's top scientists and natural and cultural resource managers.
To read the secretarial order signed today, click here.