This Week at Interior, December 6, 2013

Office of the Secretary
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This Week -- at Interior!

A step forward for tribal self-governance last week, as Secretary Sally Jewell signed a historic agreement with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Under the HEARTH Act of 2012, this agreement means the Potawatomi Nation has the authority to determine how to use their land - rather than seeking approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This will translate to quicker turnaround for people who want to build homes or small businesses in their part of Indian Country.

Congressman Tom Cole and Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn joined the signing ceremony, which took place at the Potawatomi National Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma. It is the sixth tribal leasing ordinance approved by the Department of the Interior under the HEARTH Act.

The Secretary took to the Gulf Coast late this week, to help announce the third and largest phase of early restoration projects to restore natural resources affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Trustees for natural resources damage assessment unveiled a draft restoration plan that dedicates 627 million dollars to restoration projects across the Gulf region.

There's more information and an opportunity to comment on the draft proposal on the Trustees' website: W-W-W dot Gulf Spill Restoration dot NOAA dot gov.

While in the Gulf Coast region this week, the Secretary underscored the importance of landscape-level restoration efforts to strengthen coastal resilience -- a key part of the President's Climate Action Plan meant to make smart, long-term investments in the face of climate change and increasingly frequent storms.

Secretary Jewell took an aerial tour of the Gulf -- and visited two national wildlife refuges -- to see first-hand the efforts underway to recover from the 2010 oil spill and to strengthen coastal resilience. She also met with partner organizations, involved in Gulf-area conservation and restoration efforts.

A step forward Wednesday, to resolving water issues around the Klamath Basin in Oregon and California. Commissioner Mike Connor of DOI's Bureau of Reclamation joined Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber and Senators Wyden and Merkley for the signing of an Agreement in Principle, which outlines solutions to water-resource problems, and also addresses ways to improve the economic condition of the Klamath Tribes. Commissioner Connor applauded the work of the Klamath Basin Task Force and Upper Basin Water Group for working together to come to the agreement:

“Obviously, to have a sustainable solution, you've got to have it driven at the local level, and you have to have a buy-in from folks at the local level and I think with these three agreements now in place, we are in the position to do that and I think it just, once again, as John Bezdek has often quoted to me and I want to quote him, it's a recognition by all that's increasing a number of parties in the basin that we can't take care of ourselves if we fail to take care of our neighbors.”

Ten million years before the Tyrannosaurus Rex, there was another Tyrant Lizard. Meet Lythronax argestes, the 80-million-year-old “King of Gore.” The new king was recently discovered by Scott Richardson, a Bureau of Land Management archaeologist technician at B-L-M-Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Lythronax is now the oldest known species of tyrannosaur and is believed to be a close cousin to the T. rex. There's more at ON dot DOI dot GOV slash DINOSAUR KG.

And now,


don't forget --


tonight's big event,


the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse in Washington, DC.

You can watch on the web at The National Tree dot org or on PBS television.

That's This Week -- At Interior

Last edited 4/26/2016