This Week at Interior November 17, 2023


Hello everyone, I’m Deb Haaland, and we are here at the Main Interior Building in Washington, D.C., and you’re watching This Week at Interior!  


This Week at Interior 

The Biden-Harris administration this week released the Fifth National Climate Assessment. President Biden announced more than $6 billion in investments to make communities across the country more resilient to the impacts of climate change, including more than $420 million from the Interior Department.  

This assessment shows us in clear scientific terms that climate change is impacting all regions, all sectors of the United States — not just some, all. It shows that communities across America are taking more action than ever to reduce climate risks and warns that more action is still badly needed. We can’t be complacent.  Let me say that again: We can’t be complacent. We have to keep going. 

This week Interior celebrated two years of progress implementing President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Through that law, Interior is expanding access to clean, reliable drinking water for millions of people, strengthening wildfire resilience efforts, cleaning up toxic sites that are harming communities, bolstering climate resilience for Tribal communities, and more. 

Secretary Haaland traveled to South Carolina and Iowa this week, to highlight locally led conservation and restoration projects through the America the Beautiful Challenge, funded by the Law. More than $140 million in grant funding through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation was announced to support 74 landscape-scale conservation projects across 46 states, three U.S. Territories, and 21 Tribal Nations. The Secretary visited the Catawba Nation to announce that approximately 40 percent of funding will support projects implemented by Indigenous communities, representing an unprecedented level of funding dedicated to Tribally led projects for a single grant program. 

The Department also released a new analysis that estimates that investments from the historic law supported nearly 18,000 jobs on average, and contributed an average of $2 billion to the economy each year. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contains an overall $28.1 billion over 15 years for the Department’s initiatives. 

And as part of the anniversary, Interior this week announced $100 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for water infrastructure upgrades that advance drought resilience in the West. This funding will help improve the reliability of water resources, support ecosystem health and hydropower upgrades. 

Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen Cantor and U.S. Geological Survey Director David Applegate led Interior's delegation to the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations – or GEO - ministerial summit in Cape Town, South Africa. The leaders affirmed international collaboration as we address the climate crisis, and our nation’s support for GEO's Global Ecosystems Atlas, which aims to bring together high-quality global, regional and national ecosystem maps into a single, online resource. 

Interior leaders attended the Executive Committee of the North American Intergovernmental Committee on Cooperation for Protected Areas this week to sign an updated Memorandum of Understanding, which outlines a framework for continued cooperation and coordination among the United States, Canada and Mexico to guide conservation and protection efforts across North America. The effort reinforces the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to preserve, connect and restore terrestrial and marine resources for the health of our ecosystems, people and economies. 

You can now locate all large-scale solar energy facilities in the United States on a single interactive map, thanks to the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The new viewer collects data that were previously scattered across several datasets into a single database for use by the public, government agencies, researchers, and other parties. 

A seven-member team from the Bureau of Reclamation has returned home from an eight-day visit to Taipei, Taiwan. Reclamation has been providing technical assistance and training to Taiwan’s Water Resources Agency for 36 years through a cooperative agreement between the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, it looks peaceful now, but a bit more than a million years ago, New Mexico's Valles Caldera was the scene of an immense volcanic eruption. Today visitors come to the park to explore its unique geology, view wildlife and learn about the rich human history of the site. 

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

That's This Week at Interior. 

(Music fades) 


This Week: The Biden-Harris administration releases the Fifth National Climate Assessment; Interior celebrates two years of progress in implementing President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; Secretary Haaland travels to South Carolina and Iowa to highlight locally led conservation and restoration projects through the America the Beautiful Challenge; Interior leaders travel to South Africa to spotlight international cooperation in mapping technologies; U.S., Canadian and Mexican representatives sign a new agreement for ongoing conservation efforts in North America; USGS is putting every large-scale U.S. solar facility on the map; a Reclamation delegation returns home after providing assistance and training in Taiwan; and a peaceful landscape hides an explosive past in our social media Picture of the Week!