This Week at Interior January 13, 2023


This Week at Interior 

Interior this week marked National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a day to honor the more than 900,000 law enforcement officers who risk their lives to defend our country. Interior employs 35-hundred officers across seven bureaus who are critical to protecting public safety and advancing the Department’s mission. 

Secretary Haaland this week established an Orphaned Wells Program Office. Orphaned oil and gas wells pollute backyards, recreation areas, and community spaces across the country. The new office will ensure effective, accountable and efficient implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic $4.7 billion investment in orphaned well clean up. 

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement this week announced nearly 10 million dollars to reclaim abandoned mine lands in Colorado. Millions of Americans nationwide live within just one mile of an abandoned coal mine. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has allocated more than $11 billion to address pollution they leave behind. 

Interior this week announced a new clean energy modernization rule. The proposed rule would help the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management facilitate the efficient development of offshore wind energy resources to meet U.S. climate and renewable energy objectives. The proposed reforms are estimated to save developers approximately $1 billion over a 20 year period. 

And the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has new leadership on the way this week. Liz Klein has been named BOEM Director, succeeding Amanda Lefton who served as the first BOEM director in the Biden-Harris administration. 

The Bureau of Land Management this week announced that the Blythe Mesa Solar Project in Riverside, California is now fully operational. The project is expected to produce enough solar energy to power 94,000 homes and helps meet Interior's commitment to accelerate responsible development of renewable energy on public lands. 

The Bureau of Reclamation this week announced a $7 million investment from the Infrastructure Law in 82 small-scale water efficiency projects across the West. These grants will support local community projects, including measuring water flow, automating water delivery, or lining canals. 

This Monday marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the only federal holiday designated by Congress as a "day of service." Interior employees are honoring the holiday with in-kind contributions to food banks and pantries through the Feds Feed Families initiative. It's also the first "fee free" day of the year on Interior-managed public lands. Admittance fees are waived Monday at all national parks and national wildlife refuges, as well as lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation. 

And our social media Picture of Week, this fiery image of the Kīlauea volcano at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. The most active of the five volcanoes that together form Hawai’i island, Kīlauea's latest eruption started January 5th and continued this week. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey continue to monitor the situation. 

Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Interior marks National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day; Secretary Haaland establishes an Orphaned Wells Program Office; OSMRE announces $10 million to reclaim abandoned mine lands in Colorado; BOEM has a new Director, and a new proposed rule to advance development of offshore energy resources; the power is on at the Blythe Mesa Solar Project in Riverside, California; Reclamation announces a $7 million investment for water efficiency projects across the West; Interior honors the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service with a food drive and free admittance to public lands; and Hawai'i's Kīlauea volcano makes for a fiery Picture of the Week!