This Week at Interior December 1, 2023


Hi, I'm Chip Jenkins, Superintendent at Grand Teton National're watching This Week at Interior!  

This Week at Interior  

The Department announced the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s approval of the Empire Wind project, the sixth commercial-scale offshore wind energy project approved since 2021. Once complete, the project offshore New York and New Jersey would have the capacity to power more than 700,000 homes. The announcement supports the administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.    

Interior this week outlined how more than $468 million in fiscal year 2023 funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is reducing wildfire risk, mitigating impacts and rehabilitating burned areas across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is bringing much-needed support to communities across the country to increase the resilience of lands facing the threat of wildland fires and to better support federal wildland firefighters.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week announced its final rule to list the North American wolverine in the contiguous U.S. as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Wolverines are a medium-sized carnivore found within the Northern Rocky Mountains and North Cascade Mountains in the contiguous U.S., along with parts of Alaska and Canada and their populations have been severely impacted by the effects of climate change. The listing comes as the Endangered Species Act marks 50 years since its passage in 1973.  

President Biden this week announced new actions to strengthen America’s supply chains, lower costs for families, and secure key sectors. As part of this effort, the U.S. Geological Survey is investing millions of dollars to strengthen domestic supply chains for critical minerals. USGS' flagship effort – the Earth Resource Mapping Initiative, known as Earth MRI -- has distributed more than $51 million across 35 states and Puerto Rico to fund geoscience data collection and mapping for critical minerals, supported by funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chaired the 77th Standing Committee meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. That meeting concluded recently in Geneva, Switzerland. CITES was signed in 1975 and became the only treaty to ensure that international trade in plants and animals does not threaten their survival in the wild.  

'Tis the season on the Ellipse at President's Park in Washington D.C., where President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden threw the switch this week to light up the National Christmas Tree. Secretary Haaland and National Park Service Director Chuck Sams delivered remarks to the gathered audience as well. It's a ceremony that goes back 101 years to Calvin Coolidge, and if you weren't one of the lucky few to watch it live in person, fear not: the tree will be illuminated in front of the White House throughout the holiday season, and the lighting ceremony will be broadcast on December 15th.  

And our social media Picture of the Week, the exquisite natural beauty of Kentucky's Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. It's a magical place marked by the passage of time, ancient geological forces, the migration of wildlife and the comings and goings of diverse people.  

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This Week: Interior approves the Biden-Harris Administration's sixth commercial-scale offshore wind project; nearly half a billion dollars is funding wildfire resilience efforts coast to coast, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; a cold weather carnivore is getting protection under the Endangered Species Act; the U.S. Geological Survey is beefing up the supply chain for critical minerals; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meets in Geneva, Switzerland; the First Family participates in the annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree; and the natural beauty of the Kentucky wilderness shines through in our social media Picture of the Week!