This Week at Interior November 18, 2022


Hello, I’m Myrna Palfrey, Superintendent of the San Juan National Historic Site. And you’re watching This Week at Interior. 

This Week at Interior 

Multiple events this week marked Native American Heritage Month. Secretary Haaland joined First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House for the first-ever Native American Heritage Month reception. Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland also joined Interior employees at the Stewart Lee Udall Building's Yates Auditorium for a Heritage Month event. In her remarks, Secretary Haaland reflected that this year’s theme, “Revitalizing Indigenous Connections,” cuts right to the heart of what we do at Interior every single day.  

It's been one year since President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Since then, Interior staff have been working to implement the law so that future generations have clean air, drinkable water, fertile soil and an overall quality of life that is currently threatened by the worsening climate crisis. This week the Biden-Harris administration joined public and private-sector partners to announce nearly $91 million in grants through the America the Beautiful Challenge. The grants will support conservation projects in 42 states, three U.S. territories and 14 Tribal Nations. Interior leaders were also on hand in California to celebrate investments of more than $25 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to boost water infrastructure and tackle western drought. 

Secretary Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen Cantor visited the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this week. The trip highlighted how significant investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act will help ensure the U.S. territories have the resources they need to withstand the impacts of extreme weather events and the climate crisis. The visits were also part of Interior's pledge to tell a more complete and inclusive story of America. 

Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo traveled to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to represent Interior at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties, or COP27. The conference has been held annually since the first United Nations climate agreement in 1992 -- it's an opportunity for governments to come together to discuss policies to limit global temperature rises and adapt to impacts associated with climate change. 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management this week announced it's seeking public comment on the proposed Empire Wind energy project offshore New York. If approved that project could generate more than 2000 megawatts and provide power for at least 700,000 homes. Over the past year, the Department of the Interior has moved forward at the pace and scale required to help achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.  

The Bureau of Land Management this week released a new policy designed to protect connections between priority habitats for fish, wildlife and native plants, preserving the ability of wildlife to migrate between and across seasonal habitat. That's a concept known as habitat connectivity. The policy will support the BLM’s ongoing partnerships with states, Tribes and diverse stakeholders aimed at meeting 21st century conservation challenges.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week took steps to help protect the African elephant, which is listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Service is proposing changes to rules to ensure any live African elephants brought into the United States are treated humanely and are well-cared for throughout their lifetimes. There are also revisions that apply to the importation of African sport-hunted trophies. 

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton and other Reclamation leaders took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery this week to honor America's veterans, those currently serving in uniform, and all the selfless men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our nation.  

And our social media Picture of the Week is a stunning reflection of autumn. This time every year, tens of thousands of sandhill cranes, ducks and geese return to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico to spend the winter. Sprawling across nearly 60,000 acres, Bosque del Apache was established in 1939 to provide a critical stopover site for migrating waterfowl. 

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

That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Interior celebrates Native American Heritage Month with a focus on “Revitalizing Indigenous Connections;” it’s the one-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; Secretary Haaland visits the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico; the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP27) convenes in Egypt; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management seeks public comment on a new offshore wind energy proposal; a new policy aims to protect connected habitat for fish, wildlife and native plants; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service takes new steps to protect the African elephant; a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery honors veterans’ service and sacrifice; and it’s a stunning reflection of autumn in our social media Picture of the Week!