This Week at Interior May 19, 2023


This Week at Interior 

This week is National Police Week, when we pause to remember those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. At the Udall Building in Washington, D.C., Secretary Haaland saluted Interior's thirty-six hundred officers for their heroic efforts keeping communities safe and supporting the Department's mission to protect public lands, waters, and Tribal communities. 

These roles are critical to upholding the Department's responsibilities to the American public and each officer is vital to this mission. We simply could not do our work without all of you.

Interior this week convened the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee, or STAC, marking the first time the group has met in-person -- previous STAC sessions were held online. The STAC was announced as part of the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit and launched in June 2022. It provides the opportunity for appointed Tribal leaders to have direct contact and communication with high-level Interior officials on Department policies, programs and funding that impact Tribal Nations. 

It’s Infrastructure Week! First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary Haaland traveled to Alaska this week to highlight the administration's historic investments to expand broadband connectivity in Native American communities, including Alaska Native communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. Those investments are made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and are part of the President's Investing in America agenda. 

Continuing a focus on infrastructure investments, Infrastructure Coordinator Winnie Stachelberg traveled to Michigan to tour orphan well cleanup sites. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $4.7 billion for orphaned well clean up and restoration. And the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement joined the Iowa Department of Agriculture to announce the start of cleanup efforts at the Kuiper Abandoned Mine Land site. The majority of the funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is providing nearly $6 million for abandoned mine land reclamation in Iowa. In total, the infrastructure law allocates more than $16 billion dollars to plug orphaned wells and reclaim abandoned mine lands to help communities across the country eliminate dangerous environmental conditions and pollution. 

This Friday May 19th marks Endangered Species Day, and Interior leaders hit the road this week to highlight the Department's work in conserving and restoring precious natural habitat for wildlife. Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz visited Michigan to highlight endangered species and the administration’s Investing in America agenda. She toured several sites funded by the America the Beautiful Challenge for locally led river restoration and fish barrier removal work. She also joined the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for briefings and site visits throughout the Great Lakes region to discuss cooperative fishery management. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams joined U.S. Postal Service leaders this week in South Dakota to unveil 20 new "forever" stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. The new stamps depict photographs of endangered animals found within the 50 states and American territories, as well as two North American species living near U.S. borders. The Department also announced over $62 million through the Investing in America agenda to advance endangered species recovery planning efforts. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, it's one of the most biologically rich areas on Earth, Point Reyes National Seashore on the California coast. The park offers sandy beaches, open grasslands and mystical cypress trees that await your exploration. 

Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. 

That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Interior honors law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice at a Police Week ceremony; members of the Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee meet in Washington, D.C.; Secretary Haaland joins the First Lady to highlight infrastructure investments in Alaskan Native communities; the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law means more funding for the fight against legacy pollution; Department leaders hit the road to mark Endangered Species Day; endangered species are the new face of the U.S. Postal Service's Forever Stamp; and mystical cypress trees await your exploration in our social media Picture of the Week!