This Week at Interior July 15, 2022


We're at Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge and you're watching This Week at Interior!

This Week, at Interior 

Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland were in Oklahoma this week, the inaugural stop on “The Road to Healing."  That's a year-long tour across the country to provide survivors of the Federal Indian boarding school system and their descendants an opportunity to share their stories. The Secretary announced the tour in May, as part of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative. 

Several Interior leaders traveled this week to highlight investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Secretary Haaland and Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Winnie Stachelberg toured orphaned oil and gas wells at Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma that are due to be cleaned up this year. Interior recently announced an initial $33 million investment from the Infrastructure Law to reclaim and remediate hazardous sites on federal lands. Stachelberg toured additional sites this week at Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, and Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve in Louisiana. Assistant Secretary Newland also visited Channel Islands National Park in California to highlight new investments from the Infrastructure Law to conserve ecosystems, leveraging the partnership of local Tribal communities.  

Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz visited Yellowstone National Park this week, where they toured the damage caused by recent floods and highlighted the progress that has been made to restore public access. They saluted the National Park Service’s swift work to reopen the park’s entry points and the partnerships that are helping invest in the park’s infrastructure and visitor safety efforts. 

The Biden-Harris administration this week announced the members of the new Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission. Established by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the commission will play a key role in recommending ways that federal agencies can better prevent, mitigate, suppress and manage wildland fires. 

The Bureau of Land Management this week approved construction on two major projects to ramp up energy in the west. The 125-mile, 500-kilovolt Ten West Link Transmission Line will provide critical infrastructure to support the development of future solar energy resources in Arizona and California. Meanwhile, construction on the Oberon Solar project will begin in eastern Riverside County, California. Once complete, it will generate up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy, enough to power nearly 150,000 homes. 

Secretary Haaland this week announced the establishment of the Lost Trail Conservation Area in Northwest Montana. It's the 568th and newest unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the first new unit for the Refuge System under Secretary Haaland’s leadership. 

The National Park Service this week announced $9.7 million in grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs. The grants will provide support to 21 preservation projects for historic structures across HBCU campuses in 9 states. 

A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey shows the effect of climate change on coastal wetlands along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. The study shows that coastal wetlands under threat from rising sea levels will migrate landward, usually at the expense of adjacent freshwater wetlands and upland ecosystems. Natural and manmade barriers can alter that migration and restore balance. 

And our social media Picture of the Week...we’ve got your goats. Mountain goats, to be precise, climbing these rocky walls at Glacier National Park in Montana, looking for a little salt to spice up their diet. The goats’ specialized cloven hooves with traction-creating inner pads provide sure footing, even on the steepest slopes.  

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That's This Week, at Interior.  

This Week: It's the first stop on “The Road to Healing," as survivors of federal Indian boarding schools share their stories; Interior leaders highlight Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments on public lands; the Secretary visits Yellowstone National Park in the wake of June's historic flooding; members of the new Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission are announced; the BLM approves two major projects to ramp up clean energy in the west; there's a new conservation area in northwest Montana; nearly $10 million in preservation grants are awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities; a new study shows the effect of climate change on coastal wetlands along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf Coasts; and our social media Picture of the Week just might get your goat!