Secretary Haaland Highlights Infrastructure, Legacy Pollution Clean-Up Investments in Missouri

Announces $17 million in new funding for Gateway Arch National Park


Last edited 03/21/2024

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2024

ST. LOUIS — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Missouri today, where she highlighted investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to address legacy pollution and from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to upgrade critical infrastructure at national parks across America. 

In Springfield, Secretary Haaland hosted a roundtable with state, labor and community leaders to discuss how historic investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda are helping fund legacy pollution clean-up efforts across the state. Last month, the Department granted Missouri more than $5.8 million to help address abandoned mine lands, which is in addition to the more than $5.8 million the state received in 2023. With these investments, Missouri will investigate, design and undertake reclamation projects and many of the currently inventoried abandoned mine land projects. Earlier this year, the Department also provided Missouri $5 million to begin work assessing and inventorying thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells — including those with high methane emissions — and prioritize them for future plugging and remediation efforts. The state is eligible to receive up to nearly $27 million in additional grant funding to continue that work. 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering the largest investment in history to tackle legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion for abandoned mine land remediation and $4.7 billion for orphaned well site plugging, remediation and restoration activities. These efforts also advance the President’s Justice40 Initiative that sets a goal to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. 

Secretary Haaland also visited the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Geospatial Technical Operations Center in Rolla, which leadership and world-class technical expertise in the acquisition and management of trusted geospatial data, services, and map products for the nation. The Center also supports USGS’ long-term research to advance remote sensing and mapping capabilities, including application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to support national mapping. The Center has benefited greatly from the President’s Investing in America agenda, with funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law helping to increase remotely sensed acquisitions for the 3D Elevation Program and Earth Mapping Resources Initiative. Rolla is also home to the USGS Central Midwest Water Science Center, which conducts research and investigations to provide the scientific knowledge that engineers, planners, and managers can use to make informed water-resources decisions, as well as a publishing service center for the USGS's Science Publishing Network. 

During a visit to Gateway Arch National Park, Secretary Haaland announced a new $17 million investment from GAOA that will enable the park to continue restoration of the Old Courthouse — the site of the first two trials of the pivotal Dred Scott case in 1847 and 1850 — which will help restore the upper floors and exterior of the building. At the completion of the project, the Old Courthouse will have improved accessibility that will allow more visitors to visit this historic place, modernized utilities that will improve the visitor experience, and new exhibits that will tell a fuller story of the Dred Scott case and its impacts on American history. 

GAOA is a historic investment in the protection and sustainment of our public lands and Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools. GAOA established the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to address overdue maintenance needs. GAOA also permanently authorized funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund — a separate fund aimed at safeguarding our natural areas and cultural heritage. Since 2021, GAOA projects have supported an average of 17,000 jobs and generated an average of $1.8 billion for local economies annually. For fiscal year 2024, the Interior Department proposed 56 projects that are expected to support more than 17,500 jobs and generate over $1.9 billion for the economy. 

During her trip, Secretary Haaland also toured the historic Neosho National Fish Hatchery (NFH) to see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to rear fish and mussels for stocking and restoration. Established in 1888, Neosho NFH is the oldest continuously operating federal fish hatchery raising fish today. The hatchery is unique due to its location in the heart of the city of Neosho, attracting over 65,000 visitors per year. At the Hatchery, the Service is rearing endangered species, game species, and non-game fish, such as Topeka shiners, lake sturgeon and mussels to propagate and support restoration efforts in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. 


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