Interior Praises President for Signing Bipartisan Public Lands Bill Bringing Parity for U.S. Territories and States

Last edited 11/30/2020
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Tanya Harris Joshua 202-208-6008

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of the Interior Acting Secretary David Bernhardt today praised President Donald J. Trump for signing S.47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.

“Acting Secretary David Bernhardt and I both applaud the President for signing this legislation into law, which highlights and incorporates the U.S. territories in a variety of legislative pieces,” said Doug Domenech, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs. “These adjustments and changes bring needed parity and recognition to the territories.” 

Portions of the new law relevant to the U.S. territories are as follows:

  1. Reauthorizes funding under the Land and Water Conservation Fund and considers the U.S. territories as equal to states in the apportionment of funding;
  2. Reauthorizes and amends the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004 through 2022 to now include conservation of these animals in the U.S. territories;
  3. Codifies an “Every Kid Outdoors program” to provide free access to Federal lands and waters for 4th graders residing in the United States, including any territory or possession of the United States;
  4. Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, requires federal agencies to protect water, oceans, coasts, and wildlife from invasive species through the development of strategic plans in coordination with eligible states, including the U.S. territories, to achieve an annual net reduction in invasive species, by reducing either their populations or their areas of infestation; and
  5. Authorizes the Secretary of the Interior under the American World War II Heritage Cities Act to designate one or more cities located in one of the states or territories as an “American World War II Heritage City.” Not more than one city in each state or territory may be designated. No Federal funds are associated with these designations.

The Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Insular and International Affairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) carry out the Secretary’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees Federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA supports the Secretary's mission of Fulfilling Trust and Insular Responsibilities through balancing efforts and limited resources towards stronger economic and health capacities, and fiscal accountability in the U.S. insular areas.


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