This Week at Interior May 20, 2022


Hi, I’m Frank Torres, Acting Superintendent at Brown V. Board of Education, and you’re watching This Week, at Interior! 

This Week at Interior  

Secretary Haaland joined fellow Cabinet Secretaries at the White House this week, marking the six-month anniversary of the signing of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Since then, the Department has been hard at work delivering these critical investments to American communities as quick as we can, so that local, state, and Tribal communities have the resources they need to strengthen infrastructure, bolster climate resilience and protect natural areas. 

The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an historic down payment on ensuring that future generations, in particular rural and Indigenous communities, have clean air, drinkable water, balanced ecosystems, and an overall quality of life that is currently threatened by worsening climate crisis.  

Secretary Haaland joined President Biden as he signed the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park Expansion and Redesignation Act. The act will expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park to recognize additional historic sites in South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia and Washington, D.C., which will help to more fully tell the story of the struggle to end school segregation. During a visit to Kansas this week, the Secretary traveled to Topeka to visit the National Historic Park, a pivotal site in our nation’s civil rights struggle. 

In Kansas the Secretary also highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to strengthening and empowering Indian Country. She delivered the commencement speech to the graduating class of 2022 at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she championed culturally relevant education, and called on students to carry forward the legacy of their ancestors. She also highlighted the recent designation of Haskell University as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act, which will facilitate voter registration opportunities for enrolled Indigenous students and members of the community. 

Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau visited Texas this week to highlight investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership. That program helps urban communities create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors in economically underserved communities. 

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Brian Newland visited South Dakota this week to highlight the Department’s announcement of $29 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest in Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Irrigation, Power, and Safety of Dams programs. These projects will fund design and construction projects to address known dam safety deficiencies, while also safeguarding Tribal water supplies and supporting families and communities. 

The Bureau of Reclamation has selected 22 projects to share more than $17 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. These competitive projects improve water use efficiency, increase renewable energy production, reduce the risk of water conflicts, and provide other benefits that will enhance water supply sustainability in the Western United States. 

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement this week announced more than $120 million in Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Grants. The program offers opportunities for economic revitalization, community development and the creation of good-paying jobs to some of the hardest hit communities across America, while also addressing long-standing hazards and environmental degradation in coal communities to provide clean, livable surroundings to the families who have helped power our nation. 

The National Park Service is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the National Natural Landmarks program this week. There are more than 600 natural landmarks in the program, under both public and private ownership. All of them contain outstanding features which illustrate the geological and ecological story of America. 

And with our social media Picture of the Week, we're wishing you a happy World Turtle Day! Turtles are vital to healthy ecosystems, and these green sea turtles are the largest of all the hard-shelled sea turtles. You can find them at Virgin Islands National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and here at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in Hawai‘i. 

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That's This Week, at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland and members of the Cabinet mark the six-month anniversary of President Biden’s signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; an expanded Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park will more fully tell America’s story; Secretary Haaland gives the commencement address for the Haskell Indian Nations University Class of 2022; Deputy Secretary Beaudreau highlights outdoors and ecosystem restoration during his visit to Texas; Interior announces $29 million in funding for Tribal irrigation, power and dam safety; 22 projects receive more than $17 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants; more than $120 million in Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Grants for economic revitalization is headed to coal communities; the National Park Service celebrates the 60th anniversary of the National Natural Landmarks Program; and we're wishing everyone a happy World Turtle Day in our social media Picture of the Week!