This Week at Interior
This week marks the start of Black History Month, a time to focus on Black history, heritage and communities in our country. As Secretary Haaland put it, "there is no American history without Black history. This month, as we celebrate the Black experience and culture, let us also use it to fight for equity and justice and to honor the contributions and sacrifices made by Black Americans to make this country what it is today."
Interior this week announced $1.15 billion in available funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for states to create jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells. Those wells are polluting backyards, recreation areas, and public spaces across the country. Cleaning up those hazardous sites will create good-paying, union jobs, spur economic growth and revitalization, and reduce dangerous methane leaks.
This week's session of the White House Council on Native American Affairs focused on the implementation of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and public safety resources across Indian Country. Secretary Haaland is a co-chair of the Council, which brings together senior administration officials and Tribal leaders to discuss challenges facing Tribal communities, such as community resilience, replacing aging infrastructure, and expanding access to clean drinking water and high-speed internet.
It was the annual meeting this week of the Interagency Group on Insular Areas, bringing together territorial governors, members of Congress, and top government officials to discuss the challenges facing the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Secretary Haaland was co-chair of the session, which discussed the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law throughout the territories, along with other key issues such as climate change, economic development, energy, health, education, public safety, and justice.
The Bureau of Reclamation made its initial selection of 13 projects for $20.5 million in grants to build long-term drought resiliency in five states. Reclamation's Drought Response Program is part of WaterSMART, Interior's program that focuses on improving water conservation and helping water-resource managers make sound decisions about water use.
The National Park Service this week announced the 2022 application period for local jurisdictions to apply for the American World War II Heritage Cities Program. That's an honorary designation applied to a city in recognition of its contributions to the American war effort of World War II, and its continuing work to preserve its military history.
And our social media Picture of the Week comes from the snowy slopes of Washington's Olympic National Park, the perfect location to send out our best wishes to all the athletes representing Team USA at the Winter Olympics and Paralympics games, as they get underway this week in Beijing.
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That’s This Week, at Interior
This Week: Secretary Haaland honors Black History Month at Interior; Interior announces $1.15 billion in available funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for states to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells; the White House Council on Native American Affairs focuses on the implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and public safety resources across Indian Country; the annual meeting of the Interagency Group on Insular Areas brings together territorial governors, members of Congress and top government officials to discuss the challenges facing U.S. island territories; the Bureau of Reclamation makes its initial selection of projects to build long-term drought resiliency in five states; applications are now open for the American World War II Heritage Cities Program; and we're sending our best wishes to Team USA in our social media Picture of the Week!