Date: Monday, November 29, 2021
WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland toured various sites in Maryland today to highlight the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investments in infrastructure and climate resiliency initiatives. The law will help communities tackle the climate crisis while creating good-paying union jobs, advancing environmental justice, boosting local economies and investing in the vast infrastructure that sustains our public lands and national parks.
Secretary Haaland and Rep. David Trone visited the C&O Canal National Historic Park, where they took a boat tour to see the first-ever working aqueduct on the canal — one of only a few working aqueducts in the country. They also toured the Antietam National Battlefield, where they saw significant investments the National Park Service is making to modernize the site’s infrastructure, including reconfiguring existing trails, making walkways more accessible and adding more stops to the auto-tour routes.
“The many components of our national parks – including old trails, historic buildings and water infrastructure – are essential to not only enhancing the visitor experience, but also to telling the rich cultural history of our nation,” said Secretary Haaland. “We are committed to using the resources available to us to invest in the vast infrastructure that sustains our public lands and national parks so that we can continue to carry out both of those goals.”
The infrastructure law contains several provisions that fund Interior Department initiatives and benefit the communities it directly serves. In addition to historic funding for climate resiliency initiatives and legacy pollution clean-up, the law provides for a five-year reauthorization of the Federal Transportation Program, which will help invest in repairing and upgrading National Park Service roads, bridges, trails and transit systems. The law also invests in projects that will help fund bridge replacements and resiliency, repair ferry boats and terminal facilities, and maintain wildlife crossings that keep people and surrounding wildlife safe.
Secretary Haaland and Rep. Trone held a roundtable with local stakeholders to discuss the Department’s commitment to advance environmental justice, hear about how the climate crisis is disproportionately impacting historically marginalized communities and outline how the infrastructure law will help make necessary investments in equity.
“Every community faces the impacts of the climate crisis but not everyone has the resources to rebuild or even relocate when a climate event happens in their backyard,” said Secretary Haaland. “The Biden-Harris administration recognizes that these disproportionate impacts stem from a long history of marginalization and is doing everything we can to ensure communities have the resources they need. With over $30 billion in funding for the Interior Department, the Infrastructure Law is a historic down payment that will go a long way to help achieve our environmental justice goals.”