This Week at Interior July 21, 2023


Hi, I’m Leslie Morlock, Superintendent, and we’re at Saratoga National Historical Park, and you’re watching This Week at Interior! 

This Week at Interior 

Secretary Haaland joined administration leaders at a Department of Labor event last week to discuss how federal agencies are collaborating to create good quality jobs in infrastructure, clean energy, manufacturing and technology as part of the President’s Investing in America agenda. During the event, Secretary Haaland and Acting Labor Secretary Su signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote cooperative efforts between the two agencies to build sustainable career pathways that meet industry needs for talent and worker needs for quality jobs. 

Interior this week announced $120 million in funding available from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to address the unique impacts of climate change in Tribal communities. Those communities are disproportionately impacted by changes in climate, which bring devastating storms, drought and rapid sea-level rise. This is the largest amount of annual funding made available to Tribes and Tribal organizations in the history of the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Tribal Climate Annual Awards Program. 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is making strides on three major fronts when it comes to ocean wind energy. BOEM this week announced the first-ever wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico will take place on August 29th. The 300,000 acres off Louisiana and Texas have the potential to generate more than three and half billion gigawatts, enough to power more than a million homes. 

Meanwhile BOEM has completed its environmental analysis of the proposed Revolution Wind Farm Project offshore Rhode Island, capable of powering more than 300,000 homes. A decision on final approval will come later this summer. 

And BOEM this week announced the next step for potential floating wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine. The proposed site lies 20 nautical miles southeast of Portland, and could generate up to 144 megawatts. A draft environmental impact assessment is available and public comment is invited through August 21st. The Biden-Harris administration is on track to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, and a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035. 

Interior this week announced the distribution of nearly $300 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, to support and expand outdoor recreation programs. These investments help support the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative by supporting locally led outdoor recreation and conservation projects to protect and enhance our nation’s public lands and waters.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week announced a $5.1 million investment from the Inflation Reduction Act for endangered species recovery efforts for four focal species groups: Hawaiian and Pacific Island plants, pollinators like butterflies and moths, freshwater mussels, and southwest desert fish. That funding is part of an overall $2 billion investment from the Investing in America agenda to restore lands and waters and advance climate resilience. The announcement comes as Interior marks the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. 

The U.S. Geological Survey is using autonomous surface and underwater vehicles on Lake Erie this summer to improve fishery surveys with its U.S. and Canadian partners. One of those vehicles is wind-and-solar powered, equipped with several environmental sensors both under and above the water, and will circumnavigate the lake through the end of September. It's part of a multi-year effort by USGS and fishery management partners to improve fishery science in support of the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery industry. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, one cheeky mountain lion who apparently didn't want its picture taken at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, so it tried to take off with the trail camera. Fortunately for us the folks at Bandelier had TWO cameras on the trail, catching this cougar in the act. 

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That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland joins Administration leaders at the Department of Labor to highlight jobs created by the Investing in America agenda; Interior invests $120 million to address the unique impacts of climate change in Tribal communities; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management makes strides on three major fronts when it comes to ocean wind energy; nearly $300 million goes out to all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces a $5.1 million investment for endangered species recovery efforts; the U.S. Geological Survey is using unmanned vehicles to take stock of fish on Lake Erie this summer; and we'll share why a cheeky mountain lion shows up as our social media Picture of the Week!