This Week at Interior April 14, 2023


This Week at Interior

The Department of the Interior and Bureau of Reclamation announced potential alternatives to guide operations at Glen Canyon and Hoover dams to address the unprecedented water shortages in the Colorado River Basin. Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau and Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton joined representatives from the Colorado Basin states and Tribes at Hoover Dam to outline proposed measures to protect water deliveries and hydropower production.

“Recognizing the severity of this crisis and the reality that the system is changing in profound ways, the Biden Administration has been working to bring every tool, every resource to bear as we seek to both minimize the impact of the drought and develop long term plans to facilitate water conservation and economic growth.” 

Secretary Haaland was in New Jersey to tour the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s National Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility. BSEE is developing new technologies and training to better plan for and respond to oil spills, as well as to advance new renewable energy science and technologies, such as marine kinetic energy. She also visited the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, which is playing an important role in the effort to tell a more complete story of America.  

Interior joined the Department of Agriculture this week to host a three-day summit in Boise, Idaho, to spearhead the development of a joint wildland firefighter behavioral health program. The program is funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will deliver more robust mental health services to wildland fire personnel. The new program will establish year-round prevention and mental health training, provide post-traumatic stress care, enhance capacity for critical incident stress management, and create a new system of trauma support services with an emphasis on early intervention. 

As part of the continued work by the Departments of the Interior and Justice to implement the Not Invisible Act and combat the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples, the Not Invisible Act Commission held its first public hearing this week. The first of six inperson hearings was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the next hearing scheduled for later this month in Alaska. Hearings include both panel discussions and a public comment period. A national, virtual field hearing will be held later in Summer 2023. 

The Bureau of Land Management has approved construction of the 732-mile TransWest Express Project. The high-voltage transmission line will extend from south-central Wyoming through northwestern Colorado and central Utah, ending in southern Nevada. The project will carry electricity generated by the largest onshore wind generation project in North America and helps deliver clean, reliable and affordable electricity that lowers costs for consumers. 

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced more than $5.7 million in fiscal year 2022 funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to reclaim abandoned mine lands in Utah. Millions of Americans nationwide live less than a mile from a dangerous abandoned coal mine, which can leak methane. AML reclamation projects enable economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other economic redevelopment uses like advanced manufacturing, rare earth mineral extraction, and renewable energy deployment. 

The National Park Service joined the White House for its annual Easter Egg Roll. Held on the South Lawn of the White House, the event was filled with exciting activities for the whole family, including story time, games, live entertainment, and the traditional Easter Egg Roll. The Easter Egg roll began unofficially in the 1870s, when children would roll eggs—and themselves —down Capitol Hill on Easter Monday but it took a toll on the grounds. Two years after Congress forbid the activity, President Rutherford B. Hayes issued an order that children would be allowed to roll Easter Eggs on the White House lawn instead. 

And our social media Picture of the Week honors National Pet Day! Tator Tot visited Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee where Tator Tot’s parents remembered to B.A.R.K. That is, to Bag your pet’s waste, Always leash your pet, Respect wildlife and Know where you can go with a pet ahead of time. Your pet can be a B.A.R.K. Ranger, too, while visiting your public lands. 

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That's This Week, at Interior. 

This week: Interior announced alternatives to protect the Colorado River Basin; Secretary Haaland travels to New Jersey to  tour an Oil Spill Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility; the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture spearhead a joint wildland firefighter behavioral health program; the Not Invisible Act Commission held its first public hearing in Tulsa; the Bureau of Land Management approved a transmission line to carry renewable energy across the west; the state of Utah received $5.7 million in abandoned mine land clean up funding; the National Park Service joined the White House for its annual Easter Egg Roll; and we celebrate National Pet Week in our Picture of the Week!