Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Joan Moody
For Immediate Release:March 14, 2005
(202) 208-6416
Secretary Norton Applauds House Passage
of Dept. of the Interior Volunteer Act

(WASHINGTON)-- Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton applauded House passage today of H.R. 584, the Department of the Interior Volunteer Act of 2005 introduced by Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.). The Secretary commended Chairman Pombo for the legislation, which would allow increased use of volunteers in Interior Department agencies.

"More than 200,000 volunteers already are the lifeblood of conservation in many national parks, wildlife refuges and other DOI areas but currently some of our other agencies have incomplete or no authority from Congress to accept volunteers," said Secretary Norton. "We applaud passage of this legislation because it extends permission to accept volunteers to additional agencies in recognition of the fact that cooperative conservation is an essential part of our mission."

The legislation would allow Interior to recruit and use volunteers in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of the Secretary. It also would address some problems with existing volunteer authority at the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. The department already has authority for the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management.

"Thanks to Chairman Pombo and the House for supporting the proposal to give the public an opportunity to donate their services to our mission," Norton said. The Department of the Interior is a leader in the federal government in providing opportunities for volunteer service, and this bill significantly enhances its ability to provide volunteer opportunities to interested Americans.


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