This Year at Interior: 2021



I’m Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior.  

I was proud to join the Biden-Harris Administration in March as the first Native American Cabinet Secretary. We immediately got to work delivering COVID-19 relief to families, businesses, Tribes, and local communities across the country through the American Rescue Plan.  

From bolstering climate resilience and a clean energy economy, to supporting Tribal nations and advancing environmental justice, we are working to build back better with much-needed investments in communities that will advance our vision for a robust and equitable clean energy future.  

Here are a few of our Department leaders to highlight some of the progress we’ve made this year. 

Hello, I’m Tommy Beaudreau, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Department.   

Interior is home to several unique law enforcement agencies committed to our mission to make communities across the country safe and welcoming. We’re working to strengthen trust and collaboration between law enforcement and communities with the new Law Enforcement Task Force that Secretary Haaland stood up this year.  

This task force is working to implement the highest standards for protecting the public and provide necessary policy guidance, resources, and training to agency personnel. With a focus on equity and evidence-based decision making, the task force will review and identify opportunities for improving law enforcement programs across the Department to keep personnel and communities safe. 

Hi, I'm Laura Daniel-Davis, and I'm the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management... 

At the Department of the Interior, we know that the time to act on climate is now. Clean energy — including solar, onshore and offshore wind, geothermal, and wave and tidal energy projects — will help communities across the country be part of the climate solution while creating good-paying union jobs.  

Early on, President Biden set ambitious goals that will set us on a path to a clean energy economy, and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. 

We launched the first two commercial scale offshore wind projects in the United States. We are advancing solar projects on thousands of acres of public lands in the Western United States. And we’re just getting started.  

Hi, I'm Shannon Estenoz, and I'm the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks... 

To meet the moment our country faces, the Biden-Harris administration launched “America the Beautiful,” a decade-long challenge to conserve, connect, and restore 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 for the sake of our economy, our health, and our well-being. 

Our National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges are invaluable partners in this effort to connect with communities, to expand access to the outdoors and to develop locally led conservation efforts. 

America The Beautiful recognizes that agricultural and forest landowners, anglers And other outdoor enthusiasts, Tribal Nations, states, territories, local officials, and other important partners and stakeholders all have a role to play in ensuring that we leave a livable planet to future generations. 

"Boozhoo.” (Hello) “Mino ghiizhep!" (Good day!) 

My name is Bryan Newland, and I'm the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, here at the Department of the Interior... 

At Interior, we fundamentally believe that honoring our relationship with Tribes and upholding our trust and treaty responsibilities are paramount to our mission.   

In March of this year, we conducted nation-to-nation consultations with Tribal leaders to identify best practices, and to create a roadmap for our work together across the department so that we can strengthen our relationships with Tribes. 

We’re using this process to ensure that Tribal Nations have a seat at the table before policies are created that impact their communities, from land into trust reform to job creation, expanded broadband and grant opportunities, to addressing the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples and the heartbreaking and intensive work we’re undertaking with Secretary Haaland’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.   

Hi, I'm Eric Werwa, I'm fulfilling the responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget... 

Climate change is driving the devastating intersection of extreme heat and drought that is fueling wildfires that move with a speed and intensity previously unseen. 

Paramount to this issue is promoting climate resiliency across landscapes and communities, modernizing the firefighter workforce while creating good jobs, and protecting the safety and long-term wellbeing of our wildland firefighters and incident responders.  

This year we raised firefighter pay, combined resources for wildland fire response across Interior’s land management agencies, used the latest science and technologies to enhance our operational capability and decision-making, and developed a Climate Action Plan to guide our work for the future.  

Aloha, I'm Keone Nakoa, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs... 

The territories are an integral part of the fabric of America, and the freely associated states, while independent countries, are uniquely interwoven with the United States in terms of a shared history, ongoing partnership, and a vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.  

At the Department of the Interior, we’re working to fulfill our trust and Insular Area responsibilities through efforts to strengthen economic and health capacities in the territories, to fulfill Compact of Free Association obligations, and address climate resilience, conservation, and clean energy deployment.  

We are also supporting international partners and collaborating across the federal family to build a healthy and resilient ccean. 

Hi, I'm Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science... 

Climate change is impacting our lives now, more than ever – as we witness the severe drought across the West and other extreme weather events. The current drought presents one of the biggest challenges of our time. 

This year, we have been working closely with our federal, Tribal and non-federal partners to help  communities impacted by the ongoing drought and to develop science-based solutions to build resiliency. 

We are also working across the board to ensure that we rebuild our scientific capacity throughout the country and around the world – through improved earth observation systems and next generation programs to help meet the challenges ahead.   

Hi, I'm Bob Anderson, Solicitor of the Department of the Interior... 

At Interior we are committed to executing our mission ethically and responsibly. We work to build trust in government by ensuring our department is following the law and operating transparently.  

We also work with the Justice Department to ensure that our active litigation portfolio upholds our efforts focused on fair use and safe management of our public lands, as well as our obligations to Indian Country, to our nation’s wildlife, and to the American public. 

One of the items I am most proud of this year is our work to restore  Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. These special places will now be preserved for generations to come. 

This year showed us that there is no shortage of challenges facing our country, but it also showed us that our country is strong and can tackle any challenge that comes our way. 

It also demonstrated that we are stronger when we work together. In the past few months, we joined global leaders at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland and Tribal Nations at the White House’s first Tribal Nations Summit of this Administration. We recognize that we must work collaboratively if we are to make lasting changes to protect this Earth. 

We have more work to do to address the ongoing pandemic, the climate crisis, racial injustice, and economic uncertainty, but we are strong and we can do it.  

Thanks to the historic investments made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will have even more opportunity to deliver concrete results on these priorities in communities around the country in the years ahead.  We are going to transform our infrastructure, create good-paying union jobs, invest in climate resilience, promote equity and inclusion, and leave a better world for our children, and for future generations.  

Interior made history in 2021, and in 2022, all of us, together, can do it again. 

(Music ends) 

A look back at 2021 from Interior's senior leadership