This Week at Interior August 13, 2021


This Week, at Interior 

Secretary Haaland is on the road this week, making stops inWashington and California. In the Pacific Northwest the Secretary met with Tribal leaders to hear directly about their concerns, including the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people, the pandemic, climate change and the scars of forced assimilation through federal Indian borarding school policies. The Secretary highlighted how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal – a central pillar of the Build Back Better Agenda – includes unprecedented investments for the most vulnerable Tribal communities, and a more than $200 million investment in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

The Secretary was joined by federal, state, and Tribal leaders in California to talk about offshore wind opportunities that will create good-paying jobs and strengthen local economies. She toured the Port of Humboldt Bay, the largest deepwater port between San Francisco and Coos Bay,'s being upgraded and retrofitted to meet the needs of future floating offshore wind projects. The Secretary says those projects will play a key role in transitioning to a clean energy future. 

And climate resiliency was the top line item during the Secretary's visit to California’s Redwood Forests, where she called nature "essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and every community in America." The visit reinforces the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration's America the Beautiful initiative, a locally led and voluntary, nationwide effort to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.  

A coalition of federal agencies is working together to address the digital divide in Indian Country. The National Tribal Broadband Summit takes place next month as a virtual event, a joint effort from Interior, the Department of Agriculture, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. 

The U.S. Senate this week confirmed Bryan Newland to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. He's a citizen and former Tribal President of the Bay Mills Indian Community in Michigan. 

The Bureau of Land Management this week invited the public to weigh-in on a proposed 500-megawatt solar project in Riverside County, California. The Oberon Solar project is part of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, nearly eleven million acres of public lands that provide renewable energy and recreational opportunity, while at the same time conserving their unique ecology. If approved, the Oberon project could power up to 200,000 homes. 

The National Park Service this week announced nearly ten million dollars in grants to assist twenty historic preservation projects, located on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in ten states. Since 1995, NPS has awarded more than $77 million in grants to 66 HBCUs. Congress appropriates funding for the program through the Historic Preservation Fund, using revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. 

And our social media Picture of Week is a birthday card, as we wish a happy 85th birthday to California's Joshua Tree National Park. Designated a national monument on August 10th, 1936, and eventually becoming a national park in 1994, Joshua Tree is a unique desert ecosystem that's home to Dr. Suess-like trees, amazing night skies, and one of the most visually stunning landscapes in the Golden State. 

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That’s This Week, at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland travels to the Pacific Northwest to hear firsthand from Tribal leaders about issues confronting Indigenous communities; the Secretary visits California's Port of Humboldt Bay, as offshore wind opportunities are poised to revolutionize local economies; the Secretary's visit to the Golden State's redwood forests highlight the Biden-Harris administration's "America the Beautiful" initiative; a coalition of federal agencies is working together to address the digital divide in Indian Country with next month's National Tribal Broadband Summit; the Senate confirms Bryan Newland as Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs; the Bureau of Land Management invites the public to weigh-in on a proposed 500-megawatt solar project in Riverside County, California; the National Park Service announces nearly $10 million in grants to assist historic preservation projects located on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities; and we'll tell you why our social media Picture of the Week is also a birthday card!