This Week at Interior November 9, 2023


I’m Ricky Ingram, we are at Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge, and you’re watching This Week at Interior! 

This Week at Interior 

In Bozeman, Montana this week, Secretary Haaland held the 12th and final stop on The Road to Healing, a nationwide tour to allow survivors of the federal Indian boarding school system the opportunity to share their stories, help connect communities with trauma-informed support, and facilitate the collection of a permanent oral history. The tour was a cornerstone of Interior's Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, launched by Secretary Haaland in 2021 to shed light on the troubled history of Federal Indian boarding school policies and their legacy for Indigenous Peoples.  

During remarks at the Western Governors Association Winter Meeting this week, Secretary Haaland announced that Interior is advancing 15 onshore renewable energy projects across the West, and moving ever-closer to the President’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035. The Bureau of Land Management is making progress across several states, including achieving full operational status for two solar and battery storage projects in California, permitting milestones for transmission lines proposed across Arizona, Nevada and Utah, next steps for geothermal energy development in Nevada, and progress on environmental reviews for seven solar projects proposed in Nevada and a solar and battery storage project in Arizona. 

Interior this week announced $21.9 million in funding through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, which will fund redeveloped or new parks in five states. The Department also announced a funding opportunity for more than $224 million for next year for local communities across the United States for the creation of new parks and trails, or substantial renovations to existing parks through the ORLP program. The announcement represents the largest grant funding since the launch of the program. 

U.S. energy production under President Biden’s leadership has reached an all-time high on both public and private lands throughout the nation.  Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue this week announced the disbursement of more than $18 billion in revenue generated in fiscal year 2023 from energy production on federal and Tribal lands, and federal offshore areas. The disbursements provide funds for states and Tribes to pursue a variety of conservation goals and perform much-needed maintenance for critical facilities and infrastructure on our public lands.  

A new study from the U.S. Geological Survey shows widespread levels of methylmercury in adult amphibians in the United States. The research brought together scientists from around the country to test more than 3,200 amphibians representing 14 species from 26 populations. Amphibians are the most endangered group of vertebrates worldwide. 

Two plants that live on California’s Channel Islands have been declared fully recovered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, thanks to the collaborative efforts of its conservation partners. The Santa Cruz Island Dudleya and island bedstraw are found in the Channel Islands, and nowhere else on Earth. The delisting of the two species arrives as the Endangered Species Act celebrates 50 years of conservation in 2023. 

The nation will pause this week to honor those who have worn their country's uniform this week. Saturday, November 11th is a "fee free" day at all national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands that charge for admission. All U.S. veterans, active duty servicemembers and Gold Star Family members are eligible for a free lifetime pass to our public lands. 

And our social media Picture of the Week, this stunning view of the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. As it flows from Colorado into Utah, the river passes through famous fossil finds, dramatic river canyons, intriguing petroglyphs and endless opportunities for adventure. 

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That's This Week at Interior. 

This Week: Secretary Haaland hosts the 12th and final stop on The Road to Healing to hear from survivors of federal Indian boarding schools; the Bureau of Land Management advances more than a dozen renewable energy projects across the west; nearly $22 million is headed to five states to fund outdoor spaces; the Office of Natural Resources Revenue announces the disbursement of more than $18 billion to states and Tribes; a new U.S. Geological Survey study shows a toxic compound is widespread among adult amphibians in the United States; two California plants are taken off the list of endangered species; a fee free day this week honors our nation's veterans; and we head to Dinosaur National Monument to dig up our social media Picture of the Week!