This Week at Interior July 14, 2023


This is Kristin Gibbs, Superintendent of Albright Training Center, situated in Grand Canyon National Park and you’re watching This Week at Interior 

This Week at Interior 

In Kansas this week Secretary Haaland announced the availability of nearly $660 million in grant funding to clean up legacy pollution through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. Millions of Americans live within a mile of an orphaned oil or gas well, which pollute backyards, recreation areas, farmland, and public spaces in urban, rural and suburban areas. Methane leaking from many of these unplugged wells isn't just a serious safety hazard -- it's a significant cause of climate change. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history, which also creates good-paying jobs and catalyzes economic growth while revitalizing communities and ecosystems. 

In Montana this week Deputy Secretary Beaudreau announced a $185 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support wildland fire management nationwide in fiscal year 2023 and to assist land managers in planning for wildfire management activities in fiscal year 2024. The funding will support special pay supplements and training opportunities for federal wildland firefighters and will advance collaborative fuels management and burned area rehabilitation activities. The investments build on $278 million already allocated for wildland fire management this year. 

The Deputy Secretary also visited Yellowstone National Park, where he joined Tribal leaders, local partners and community members to commemorate an expanded bison conservation transfer facility. Earlier this year, Interior announced several new steps to restore wild and healthy populations of American bison and the prairie grassland ecosystem. Through a new Secretary’s Order and over $25 million from the Investing in America agenda, Interior is helping empower its bureaus and partners to use the best available science and Indigenous Knowledge to help restore bison across the country. 

Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz visited St. Louis, Missouri, this week to highlight the Investing in America agenda, and new and increased funding through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program that's restoring America’s lands and waters and expanding access to the outdoors. At the St. Louis Zoo, she highlighted the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, and saluted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners' efforts to aid the recovery of both the hellbender and American burying beetle.  

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Matt Strickler traveled to Grand Canyon National Park this week, joining the Federal Highway Administrator to announce the fiscal year 2022 Nationally Significant Federal Lands Transportation Grant awards. Grand Canyon National Park will receive nearly $30 million for a Shuttle Bus Fleet Replacement and Charging Infrastructure project, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $17.7 million to begin improvements of the public-use beach access at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. 

Interior and the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program – or ANSEP -- teamed up this week to sign a new partnership that will increase employment opportunities for Alaska Native youth across the Department’s offices and bureaus. The announcement is part of the administration’s continued work to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive federal workforce. 

The Bureau of Land Management announced a $3.5 million partnership with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory this week. The partnership will advance renewable energy research and new technologies on public lands, using funding from the Investing in America agenda through the Inflation Reduction Act. 

And the Bureau of Land Management turns 77 years old this week. On July 16th, 1946, President Harry Truman merged the General Land Office and the Grazing Service to create BLM, which now proudly manages about 245 million acres of public landscapes for all Americans. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, the magnificent waters of Diablo Lake in Washington's North Cascades National Park. During the summer, ice melt and erosion of the mountains bring glacial flour into the lake, refracting the sunlight, and turning the waters a bright shade of turquoise. 

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That's This Week at Interior. 


This Week: Secretary Haaland announces $660 million to take on legacy pollution; a $185 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support wildland fire management nationwide; Deputy Secretary Beaudreau commemorates an expanded bison facility in Yellowstone National Park; Interior leaders visit Missouri and Arizona to highlight how the Investing in America agenda is contributing to better public access; Interior announces a partnership to open new doors for Alaska Native students; there's a new effort for clean energy on public lands; the Bureau of Land Management celebrates a birthday; and some northwestern waters take on an extra shade of awesome in our social media Picture of the Week!