This Week at Interior
Secretary Haaland marked the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples this week with an announcement of the members of the new Advisory Committee on Reconciliation in Place Names. That's a federal advisory group tasked with identifying and recommending changes to derogatory terms still in use for places throughout the country. The Secretary has said the nation’s lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and our shared cultural heritage – not to perpetuate the legacies of oppression.
Interior has announced nearly $725 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is now available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation to reclaim abandoned mine lands. That funding will boost local economies and create good-paying union jobs while addressing the legacy of pollution caused by past coal mining.
Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo joined Bureau of Reclamation leaders this week in South Dakota at a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate a $75.5 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law into the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. The funding was allocated as part of a $420 million investment in rural waters.
The Bureau of Land Management this week announced that the Palen Solar Project in Riverside County, California, is fully operational. The 457-megawatt facility will supply enough energy to power approximately 116,000 homes. It represents another major step forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to lower costs for families and create a clean energy, carbon-free future.
The National Park Service this week announced more than $2 million in grants to nine Tribes and 20 museums to assist in the consultation, documentation and repatriation of ancestral remains. The grants will also fund the transportation and return of cultural items and funerary objects back to their rightful location.
Carmen G. Cantor was sworn-in this week as Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs. Carmen most recently served as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federated States of Micronesia. Previously, she served in various roles within the Department of State.
Secretary Haaland this week issued a Public Land Order opening up 27 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management for eligible Alaska Native Vietnam-era Veterans under the 2019 Dingell Act. This action makes good on Interior’s promise to honor the sacrifices made by Alaska Native veterans who were unable to apply for allotments because of past military service.
A historic handover this week...NASA transferred operational control of Landsat 9 to the U.S. Geological Survey. Landsat 9 was launched last September, the newest member of the family of Earth observation satellites first launched fifty years ago. Since 1972, Landsat has provided an unprecedented visual record of Earth’s landscapes, icescapes and coastal ecosystems.
Secretary Haaland joined Interior leaders at an event to mark the 45th anniversary of the enactment of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, the landmark law that created the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. This year's theme: Reinvigorating coal country over the next 15 years as the nation shifts to clean energy.
And our social media Picture of the Week, this stunning image of the Milky Way in the skies above North Carolina's Bodie Island Light Station. For a century and a half, the lighthouse and its powerful light beam have kept silent watch over the waters off Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks, often called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” for the unusually high number of shipwrecks.
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That's This Week, at Interior
This Week: Secretary Haaland announces members of the federal advisory group tasked with identifying and recommending changes to derogatory place names; nearly $725 million in funding is now available to address legacy pollution caused by past coal mining; a South Dakota ribbon cutting celebrates a $75.5 million investment into the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System; a major solar energy project is fully operational in California; $2 million in grants help repatriate ancestral remains and ceremonial objects; Carmen G. Cantor is sworn-in as Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs; Interior takes steps to honor the sacrifices made by Alaska Native Vietnam-era Veterans; NASA transfers operational control of Landsat 9 to the U.S. Geological Survey; the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement celebrates its 45th birthday; and a tower of light shines in our social media Picture of the Week!