This Week at Interior February 25, 2022


This Week, at Interior 

This week marked the 80th anniversary of the wrongful incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II. Secretary Haaland visited the Amache Historical Park in Colorado to meet with survivors and descendants of Japanese incarceration, to remember a shameful period in American history, and commit to telling America’s story, even when it is ugly. 

The Secretary also joined Colorado leaders to announce that President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will fund a new state-of-the-art research facility for the U.S. Geological Survey. The $167 million investment will help replace deteriorating laboratories used by USGS scientists working on critical energy and mineral programs. 

The Secretary then traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, where she was joined by Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. Her visit underscored Interior’s commitment to Indian Country and the historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address the Western water crisis. As part of her visit with the Arizona congressional delegation, Secretary Haaland announced the Department’s plan to fulfill settlements of Indian water rights with funding from the Law... by allocating $1.7 billion to enacted settlements that have outstanding federal payments necessary to complete their terms. 

Interior this week announced a list of candidate names for more than 660 geographic features containing a racist term that has been officially declared a derogatory term as a result of the Secretary’s Order 3404. Interior will now consult with Tribes and the public on potential replacement names. 

Interior this week announced the launch of a new interagency working group on hardrock mining in the United States. The group will convene experts, stakeholders, and the public to review and recommend reforms to mining laws, regulations, and permitting, part of President Biden’s vision for an allof-government effort to promote the sustainable and responsible domestic production of critical minerals. 

And speaking of critical minerals, the U.S. Geological Survey this week released a new list of 50 mineral commodities critical to the U.S. economy and national security. The 2022 list of critical minerals was determined using the most up-to-date scientific methods to evaluate mineral criticality. The new list contains 15 more commodities compared to the nation’s first list created in 2018.  

Secretary Haaland this week established the first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Council at Interior, to better incorporate the Biden-Harris administration’s work to prioritize these practices across our bureaus. With representatives from senior leadership in every bureau, the Council will ensure that decision-making processes include input from employees at all levels. 

And our social media Picture of the Week...a taste of tropical paradise from Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park in Hawai'i, as Interior celebrates Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi or Hawai'ian Language Month. That's one way we can reaffirm our support for the protection, promotion, and preservation of Indigenous languages spoken by Native Hawaiians. 

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That’s This Week, at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland marks the 80th anniversary of the tragic incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II; President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law means the U.S. Geological Survey is getting a new state-of-the-art research facility; the Secretary visits Arizona to underscore Interior’s commitment to Indian Country and addressing the Western water crisis; Interior announces possible replacement names for geographic features currently containing a derogatory term; a new interagency working group will recommend reforms to hardrock mining laws, regulations and permitting; USGS releases a new list of minerals critical to the U.S. economy and national security; it’s the first-ever Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Council at Interior; and our social media Picture of the Week is a taste of paradise!