This Week at Interior June 11, 2021


This Week, at Interior 

June is National Ocean Month, and Secretary Haaland helped celebrate with remarks during Capitol Hill Ocean Week. She talked about Interior’s “blue portfolio,” and how it’s managed by agency bureaus and offices committed to conserving and restoring coastal and ocean resources. 

Each of us, has a responsibility to future generations to care for our Earth and leave behind a livable planet for our children, grandchildren, and future generations. As we manage our ocean and its boundless resources, I am committed to working closely with Congress to ensure the President’s budget priorities for conservation, clean energy, and environmental justice are at the forefront of our work. 

Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management this week announced the first-ever assessment of offshore wind energy potential in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s another milestone in the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs through the deployment of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.  

Elsewhere this week the Department announced another first, a proposed lease sale for offshore wind development in the New York Bight. That’s an area of shallow waters that stretches from Long Island in the north to Cape May New Jersey in the south. It could generate enough megawattage to power nearly three and a half-million homes. This would be the first offshore lease sale under Secretary Haaland’s leadership. 

Interior’s slice of the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget may be an increase of 17% over last year, but that’s just where the story starts. Secretary Haaland says preserving our historic sites and lands for future generations is at the heart of what Interior does, and that she’s committed to centering the voices, history, and stories of those who have been unrepresented and underrepresented. The Biden-Harris administration’s 2022 budget proposal includes increases across the Department to better address diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workforce. 

The National Park Service this week announced visitor spending at the nation’s parks last year approached $29 billion, and supported more than a quarter-million jobs. Most of that economic impact affected communities within sixty miles of a national park, generating business sales while supporting jobs and local economies.  

And the National Park Service this week announced the reopening of Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, after a complete three-year rehabilitation, and a transformation of the visitor experience. New exhibits and research allows visitors to learn the history of the Custis and Lee families, alongside that of the more than 100 enslaved people who labored on the plantation. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, the brilliant colors of lupine flowers blooming in the Bald Hills of California’s Redwood National and State Parks. The towering flowers, as tall as three feet, bring out thousands of visitors every year...and the star of this late spring glow up is the riverbank lupine, which is said to make the whole hillside smell like grape soda. 

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That’s This Week, at Interior. 

This Week: Celebrating one of Earth's most precious resources during National Ocean Month;  it's the first assessment of wind energy potential in the Gulf of Mexico; a proposed offshore wind lease sale off New York and New Jersey could power millions of homes and generate thousands of jobs; Secretary Haaland says Interior's projected budget increase will help foster diversity, equity, and inclusion; a new report from the National Park Service shows visitor spending continues to be a boon for local economies; a new experience awaits visitors to the newly-reopened Arlington House; and some towering purple flowers are the stars of our social media Picture of the Week!