Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis Highlights President’s Investing in America Agenda in Puerto Rico

Last edited 04/12/2024

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2024

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Acting Deputy Secretary of the Interior Laura Daniel-Davis visited Puerto Rico this week to highlight how investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will strengthen climate resilience and ecosystem restoration initiatives across the archipelago. The visit, the third by a Department leader in the past month, underscores the Department’s commitment to Puerto Rico’s recovery and renewal through an all-of-government approach and collaborative partnerships.

Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Elizabeth Klein met with Governor Pedro Pierluisi to reinforce the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to building Puerto Rico’s energy resilience including through the potential of offshore wind leasing. The Inflation Reduction Act expanded the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act’s definition to include areas offshore Puerto Rico and the territories. Earlier this month, the Biden-Harris administration announced the approval of the nation’s eighth commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project under Secretary Haaland’s leadership, marking an important milestone towards achieving President Biden’s goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.

Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis traveled to the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras to host a roundtable with leaders from Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), students and leadership from the University of Puerto Rico, and staff from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to underscore the Department’s commitment to addressing workforce capacity challenges and increasing climate expertise in Puerto Rico.

During the visit, Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis announced a $2.75 million investment funded through the Inflation Reduction Act for the development of Puerto Rico’s climate workforce. This investment will help address a variety of workforce and career needs, including funding college students in Puerto Rico to pursue advanced degrees focused on climate change, offering recent graduates a competitive stipend and the opportunity to work with the DNER, and building capacity for employees at the DNER through opportunities for their current workforce to pursue advanced degrees focused on climate change. The discussion highlighted USGS’ Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, which recently expanded to include the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras and is moving quickly to build partnerships, develop leading science, and foster a community of researchers in the Caribbean.

Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis also visited the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), to highlight a $1 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to eradicate invasive species that have increased coastal erosion, threatened seagrass and coral reefs and have negatively impacted native species of wildlife and plants like the endangered Luis Peña and Culebrita. Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Department is putting people to work restoring our nation’s lands and waters with a $2 billion down payment that builds on existing programs and invests in locally led landscape, partner driven restoration – including through the Invasive Species Keystone Initiative

Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis and Director Klein also traveled to El Yunque National Forest to visit the FWS-managed Iguaca Aviary to discuss interagency partnerships and the importance of the aviary for ongoing recovery efforts for the Puerto Rican parrot, an endangered species emblematic to the island and protected under the Endangered Species Act. In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria decimated the parrot population, but thanks to collaborative conservation efforts between the FWS, U.S. Forest Service and DNER the population is now on the road to recovery. 


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