This Week at Interior April 12, 2024


Hi, I'm Silmarie Padron, I'm the Project Leader for the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and we're in Culebra National Wildlife Refuge...and you're watching This Week at Interior!

This Week at Interior  

Secretary Haaland and Department leaders this week announced a series of historic milestones and actions to promote responsible clean energy development on public lands and help achieve President Biden’s goal of creating a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. The Bureau of Land Management has now permitted more than 25 gigawatts of clean energy projects – surpassing a major milestone ahead of 2025 – enough clean energy to power more than 12 million homes across the country. This includes solar, wind and geothermal projects, as well as gen-tie lines on public lands that are essential for connecting clean electricity projects to the grid. The Department also announced a final Renewable Energy rule that will lower consumer energy costs and the cost of developing solar and wind projects, streamline application processes, and incentivize developers to continue responsibly developing solar and wind projects on public lands.  

Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis visited Puerto Rico this week to highlight how investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda will strengthen climate resilience and ecosystem restoration initiatives in the Commonwealth. Joined by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Elizabeth Klein, the Acting Deputy Secretary met with Governor Pedro Pierluisi to reinforce the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to building the island's energy resilience, including through the potential of offshore wind leasing. She announced a $2.75 million investment for the development of Puerto Rico’s climate workforce and hosted a roundtable with leaders from Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, students and leadership from the University of Puerto Rico, and staff from the U.S. Geological Survey to underscore the Department’s commitment to addressing workforce capacity challenges and increasing climate expertise in Puerto Rico. The Acting Deputy Secretary also toured the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge to highlight a million-dollar investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to eradicate invasive species that have increased coastal erosion, threatened seagrass and coral reefs and negatively impacted native species of wildlife and plants.

Interior this week announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized Endangered Species Act revisions to improve participation in its voluntary conservation programs. The revisions promote native species conservation by clarifying and simplifying permitting under Section 10 of the ESA, encouraging more resource managers and landowners to engage in these voluntary programs.  

Interior this week announced $79 million from the President’s Investing in America agenda to support wildland fire management. The funding will expand wildfire detection capabilities, reduce risk from wildfires, help rehabilitate burned areas and enhance radios and other technology used by wildfire incident management teams.  

Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations this week announced $1 million in funding for Native Hawaiian Organizations through the Heritage Opportunities in Hawaiʻi grant program. That program establishes a more inclusive national travel and tourism strategy. It also provides opportunities to Native Hawaiian Organizations that have the potential to deliver significant benefits like job creation, elevated living standards and expanded economic opportunities.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement this week announced changes to the Ten-Day Notice rule that will make it easier for citizens to report mining concerns, safeguarding people and the environment from the adverse effects of coal mining. The amended rule reduces burdens for citizens to report a mining problem and establishes procedures to more swiftly evaluate and process allegations about possible mine violations.

This week, Secretary Haaland joined Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II in Washington, D.C. The Prime Minister planted new cherry blossom tree seeds, a gift to symbolize the strong friendship between the United States and Japan. The memorial honors Japanese Americans who lived in incarceration camps throughout World War II, and those who served in the U.S. military during that conflict. Prime Minister Kishida later presented two cherry trees to Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, and announced the gracious gift of an additional 250 cherry trees for the National Mall, which will join the original 3600 trees first planted in 1912.

Things were looking up this week across North America, as the last total solar eclipse for 21 years made its way from Mexico to Canada. As always, our public lands offered a great vantage point for the tens of millions who came out to witness the awe-inspiring sight. The zone of totality spanned 12 states, but even those outside that zone had a chance to see something special... about 99% percent of Americans were able to see at least a partial eclipse.

And our social media Picture of the Week, this beautiful image of New York's Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Located within sight of the New York City skyline, the refuge is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the Northeast, and an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hiking and birding.  

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That's This Week at Interior! 

This Week: Secretary Haaland announces historic milestones on the road to a carbon pollution-free power sector; Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis highlights the President's Investing in America agenda in Puerto Rico; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalizes Endangered Species Act revisions to improve participation in its voluntary conservation programs; the President’s Investing in America agenda provides $79 million in new funding to support wildland fire management; new resources are on the way for Native Hawaiian Organizations; the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement makes it easier for citizens to report mining concerns; Secretary Haaland joins the Japanese Prime Minister to celebrate an enduring symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan; things were looking up as a total solar eclipse swept across the country this week; it's a taste of the wilderness in the shadow of New York City, and it's our social media Picture of the Week!