ICYMI: Secretary Bernhardt Visits New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Highlight the Great American Outdoors Act and Implementation of Good-Neighbor Policies

Last edited 07/23/2020

Date: Thursday, July 23, 2020
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON - This week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt traveled to New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where he met with stakeholders of New England's fishing and lobster industries, discussed offshore wind projects and conducted a site inspection of the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The Trump Administration remains committed to being a good neighbor and ensuring Federal decisions are informed by local concerns.

Being a Good Neighbor

On Tuesday, Secretary Bernhardt hosted a roundtable in Boston, Massachusetts with members of the commercial fish and lobster industries. The industries employ tens of thousands of Americans and is a major driver of the region’s economy. The roundtable included representatives from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina.

The Secretary heard firsthand from the men and women who fish and trap in America’s waters to provide a steady supply of affordable American seafood. Secretary Bernhardt made abundantly clear that the Department was committed to implementing good-neighbor policies and hearing from all stakeholders impacted by potential offshore projects.


Secretary Bernhardt hosts a roundtable with New England's commercial fishing and lobster industries in Boston, Massachusetts.

Honoring America's History

Secretary Bernhardt visited the Boston National Historical Park where he received a briefing and tour of the U.S.S. Constitution -- the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy. The United States Navy operates the ship as a historic site in cooperation with the National Park Service, welcoming more than 600,000 visitors each year.

During the War of 1812, the U.S.S. Constitution earned the nickname "Old Ironsides" because cannon fire from enemy ships seemed as if they couldn't penetrate the strong oak hull. The Secretary had the opportunity to thank the men and women of the U.S. Navy and National Park Service for their work to keep this American icon accessible to the public.

Secretary Bernhardt inspects the U.S.S. Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard
Secretary Bernhardt inspects the U.S.S. Constitution at the Charlestown Navy Yard

Expanding Outdoor Recreation Opportunities 

In New Hampshire, Secretary Bernhardt conducted a site inspection at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The Secretary examined recently completed maintenance work on a boardwalk along the refuge's Peverly Trail, allowing visitors to safely access the scenic Peverly Trail Overlook.

In April, Secretary Bernhardt announced a historic proposal for new and expanded hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 97 national wildlife refuges and 9 national fish hatcheries. On top of last year’s expansion of 1.4 million acres and 300,000 acres the year before that for new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities, the Trump Administration’s total expansion will be 4 million acres nationwide.


Secretary Bernhardt receives a briefing on the status of the Lower Peverly Dam removal project.
Secretary Bernhardt receives a briefing on the status of the Lower Peverly Dam removal project.
 Secretary Bernhardt hikes along recently improved Peverly Trail boardwalk




Massachusetts fishing industry leaders flag offshore wind concerns to Trump interior secretary

Members of New England’s commercial fishing industry who feel they’ve been cast aside in the rush toward offshore wind took their concerns straight to the top of the Trump administration Tuesday in a Seaport sit-down with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

“The fishing industry is not anti-wind. But the fishing industry’s not been part of this process from the beginning,” said Lund’s Fisheries Chairman Jeff Reichle. “Let’s do it the right way.”

Industry representatives voiced a raft of concerns with offshore wind, including the safety of commercial and recreational boaters navigating the waters, issues towing fishing nets through the farms and the potential for disrupting marine life.

Bernhardt said he’s not looking to “whack people with an unnecessary burden if we can avoid it” but noted he’s “very eager” to pursue offshore wind “in a way that works.”

Full article here.


Interior Secretary Hears Fishermen's Concerns About Offshore Wind

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior met with members of New England's fishing industry in Boston Tuesday, and signaled he hears their concerns about offshore wind farms.

The Vineyard Wind project, proposed for 15 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, has been on hold since the Interior Department announced nearly a year ago that it would expand its environmental review to include an analysis of every offshore wind development that's likely to be proposed off the East Coast over the next 10 years.

Full article here.


US Interior Secretary Makes First Visit to NH at Great Bay refuge

In his first visit to the state, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt described New Hampshire as “stunningly beautiful” and cited the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge during a tour Wednesday as a “beautiful location.”

He visited the refuge, established in 1992 on what was part of a weapons storage area at the former Pease Air Force Base, to highlight recent enhancements at the site and what the U.S. Department of the Interior is doing for the 500 million acres of land it manages.

He cited legislation in Congress to free up funds needed for deferred maintenance projects. He also noted the department’s efforts to open more than 4 million acres of public land to hunting and fishing.

Full article here.

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Secretary of Interior speaks on new conservation funding in NH trip

As the U.S. House of Representatives was poised to pass a landmark conservation bill Wednesday, the U.S. secretary of the Interior was in New Hampshire to explain why the funding is critical.

The bill would ensure full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the first time since the 1960s. On his first trip to New Hampshire, Secretary David Bernhardt toured newly repaired walkways at the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newington.

"With our prior efforts for the last three years and this effort, we will have expanded hunting and fishing opportunities on over 4 million acres of land in the Fish and Wildlife Service," he said.

Full story here.


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