This Week at Interior June 18, 2021


This Week, at Interior

Each of these graduates is a dream that our ancestors had when they fought famine and drought, displacement, and the terrible assimilation policies of the past century. Today, I want to challenge each of you to use your education to build a better world for those who will come after you.

Secretary Haaland this week congratulated the Tribal graduates of the Class of 2021. Students this year faced an unprecedented pandemic and economic crisis, but carried on to finish their studies and earn their diplomas. The Secretary was joined by other Interior leaders and Indigenous speakers in applauding the graduates, and the schools, educators, families and communities who stood behind and supported them.

You graduate at a time in history when our world is  facing  enormous challenges, but also at a time when the opportunities created by those challenges have never been greater.  You have the power to bring solutions to climate change, to develop clean energy resources, to actively engage efforts to strengthen Tribal sovereignty, and the protection and advocacy for our sacred sites. You are the keeper of our traditions. You are the answer to our ancestors’ prayers.  I cannot commend you enough. 

Secretary Haaland headed north to Maine this week, meeting with Tribal leaders, elected officials, and other stakeholders. The Secretary highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s significant investments in public lands and national parks, which will create jobs, help modernize parks and park infrastructure, and strengthen conservation. 

Another historic first for Secretary Haaland and Interior this week... Raising the first Pride flag to ever fly over Interior, to mark LGBTQ+ Pride Month. The Secretary has said Interior is committed to telling the rich, diverse story of America and lifting up underrepresented peoples and communities, and that despite many hard-fought victories, there is still a long way to go to ensure full liberation, peace, and equality for the LGBTQ+ community. 

Secretary Haaland testified this week before the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on the Biden-Harris administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Under that proposal Interior’s budget could increase to $17.6 billion, a 17% increase over last year. That's an investment which will help the Department address the climate crisis, restore balance on public lands and waters, infuse critical resources in Indian Country, advance environmental justice, and build a clean energy future. 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management this week hosted the first meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force. The task force brings together federal,  state, local, and Tribal government representatives to coordinate and share information on exciting and newly-proposed offshore renewable energy-related activities in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. 

A new report from the Fish and Wildlife Service this week identifies 269 bird species of concern when it comes to conservation. The report will be used by international, federal, state, Tribal, and private partners for research, monitoring and management to help prevent the need for listing under the Endangered Species Act. 

The National Park Service this week announced $180,000 in grants from its National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. Twenty network members will receive up to $10,000 each for projects that enhance the preservation, interpretation, and research of the Underground Railroad. The Railroad helped free thousands of African Americans from enslavement in the years leading up to the Civil War. Saturday June 19th is Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. 

And our social media Picture of the Week is out of this world, as we stare into the center of the galaxy from Soda Lake at California's Carrizo Plain National Monument. Bordering the San Andreas Fault a few hours northwest of Los Angeles, the monument isn't just dry salt's also home to the largest single native grassland remaining in California, and is filled with blooming wildflowers. 

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That’s This Week, at Interior. 

Secretary Haaland congratulates the Tribal graduates of the Class of 2021; the Secretary travels to Maine to highlight the Biden-Harris administration’s investments in public lands and national parks; for the first time ever an LGBTQ+ Pride flag flies over Interior; the Secretary testifies on Capitol Hill on the administration's FY 2022 budget proposal; it's the first meeting of a new task force examining offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico; the Fish and Wildlife Service identifies 269 bird species to watch with an eye toward conservation; the National Park Service awards grants to preserve, research and interpret sites along the Underground Railroad; and our social media Picture of the Week sets its sights on the stars!