This Week at Interior April 22, 2022


Hello, everybody. I'm John Carroll, the Superintendent of Kenai Fjords National Park. And you're watching "This Week at Interior."

This Week, at Interior 

Secretary Haaland kicked off a week-long visit to Alaska this week. The Secretary’s trip will include visits to Anchorage, Fairbanks, King Cove, Seward, and Utqiagvik. She’s meeting with Alaska Native leaders and elders, local, state and federal elected officials, and members of the conservation, outdoor recreation, and labor communities to discuss sustainable economies, federal investments, and infrastructure needs. These investments, including through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help ensure Alaskan communities have healthy lands and waters, continued access to the outdoors, and the foundation for future jobs and economic opportunity.  

While in Alaska, Secretary Haaland, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Governor Mike Dunleavy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams and Senior Advisor Raina Thiele visited the community of King Cove. They met with Native leaders, elected officials and community members; visited with healthcare professionals at the King Cove Clinic and spoke with students at the King Cove School. In her remarks the Secretary said "No matter the path your life takes you on, you can always choose to pursue the things that make you happy and fulfilled. It takes hard work. It takes perseverance. But at the end of the day, it’s worth it to pursue your passions." 

Interior has published its first Equity Action Plan. That plan outlines the Department’s efforts to advance equity through all of its operations, remove barriers to equal opportunity, and deliver resources and benefits equitably to the general public.  Secretary Haaland discussed Interior’s plan at the White House Convening on Equity. Interior’s efforts focus on areas with the potential for high equity impacts in underserved communities, for Tribes and to address barriers to recreation on Interior-managed lands and waters. 

Friday April 22nd is Earth Day, a time to renew our collective commitment to protect our planet for current and future generations. This week Interior outlined its roadmap for continued renewable energy progress on public lands, part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to permit 25 gigawatts of renewable power on public lands by 2025. Through the Bureau of Land Management, the Department has approved more than 120 renewable energy projects with combined generating capacity of 12,000 megawatts. As the agency continues to ramp-up its renewable energy program, it anticipates supporting nearly 10,000 additional megawatts of renewable energy capacity by the end of 2023, and more in 2024. The administration's goal is a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.    

In honor of Earth Day, the U.S. Geological Survey released a series of videos this week highlighting eight of the agency’s scientists who work to understand and address climate change. USGS employs 8000 people, each with a unique role to support the mission of providing actionable science about the status of Earth’s natural systems.  

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs Keone Nakoa took part in the "Our Ocean Conference" in the Republic of Palau. The conference highlighted the importance of collaborating with traditional and community leaders when it comes to natural resources and ocean conservation. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding, officially launching a partnership between the National Park Service and national government of Palau for sustainable visitor use and tourism management of protected areas on the island. 

Interior this week announced the winners of the Department's annual Environmental Achievement Awards. The awards recognize employees and partners who have made exceptional contributions through projects in eight categories aimed at fostering the protection and preservation of cultural and environmental resources. Among the winners are 13 individuals and teams from the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Park Service. 

Secretary Haaland joined Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough this week for a National Park Week salute to the nation's veterans at Great Falls Park in Virginia.  

At VA, we know that being outdoors can have a real positive impact on the health and well-being of Vets. So whether you hike, fish, rock climb, or just want to have a picnic with family and friends, one of the best ways for you to experience nature is on America's public lands.

Our veterans and their families sacrifice so much for our country and we're truly grateful. That's why servicemembers, veterans, and Gold Star families have free lifetime access to all federal public lands including national parks and wildlife refuges. 

National Park Week runs through April 24th. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, we head back to Alaska, and the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. It's the smallest refuge in the nation's largest state, hosting a quarter-million migratory birds every fall, including the entire world's population of black brants. They migrate here every year to get some much-needed rest and dine at one of the world's largest eelgrass beds. 

Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and You Tube. 

That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland kicks off a week-long visit to Alaska; it's Interior's first ever Equity Action Plan; Interior celebrates Earth Day 2022 with a roadmap for continued renewable energy progress on public lands; the U.S. Geological Survey highlights the contributions of its scientists who work to understand and address climate change; Interior takes part in the "Our Ocean Conference" in the Republic of Palau; it's time for Interior's annual Environmental Achievement Awards; Secretary Haaland joined Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough this week for a National Park Week salute to the nation's veterans; and the smallest wildlife refuge in the nation's largest state takes our social media Picture of the Week!