Department of Interior

Carolyn Kaster) / AP Photo

 

The U.S. might soon have its first Indigenous person to serve in a presidential administration. The nomination of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-New Mexico) as President-elect Joe Biden's Director of Interior may be more than symbolic.


Soon after she was elected as one of America's first Indigenous congresswomen in 2018, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland paid a visit to her constituents at the Pueblo of Sandia, just outside of Albuquerque. 

"She came to the Pueblo for one of our feast days," said Stephine Poston, a tribal citizen and advocate for Native women leadership. "And the young girls, a couple of them were following her around and she stopped to talk to them. It was an amazing thing to see and witness." 

Poston said Haaland may as well have been a celebrity to those girls, but she didn't act like one. 

"She's just that person who will stop and see you," Poston said. 

And she said that's how Pueblo people, and Indigenous people across the country, have been feeling since Haaland was nominated to lead the Department of the Interior: Seen.

The Interior Department has walked back controversial efforts to curb public records requests in a final rule published Friday

ROSS D. FRANKLIN / AP IMAGES

Ken Salazar served as Secretary of the Interior for President Barack Obama. He’s speaking in Idaho next week on the role the U.S. plays in global climate change negotiations and is critical of the current administration’s attention to climate change.

 

President Trump is touting his environmental achievements this week. But some environmental advocacy groups are not impressed. 

The Center for Western Priorities just released a new study that shows the administration has been almost unanimously approving de-regulatory policy changes requested or supported by mining and drilling groups. 

Protesters dressed as swamp creatures kayaked down a river while others marched along a bike path, past private tennis courts and swanky swimming pools outside the hotel where governors met with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

“My shirt says keep your oily hands off of Colorado's public lands,” says Chelsea Stencel, who was among the protesters. “David Bernhardt, the ultimate swamp monster.”

The Department of the Interior is continuing its push to move some agency headquarters out West by asking Congress to fund the initiative.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is asking Congress for $10.5 million in the next fiscal year for the relocation efforts. The department says it plans to choose a new western location for the Bureau of Land Management headquarters later this year. It has also signaled that it may move the U.S. Geological Survey headquarters to the Denver area.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has been accused by Democratic lawmakers and nonprofit accountability groups of violating ethics rules, prompting a review by that agency’s inspector general.

Bureau of Reclamation

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt faced fiery questions during his senate confirmation hearing Thursday.

 

Democrats are likely to question acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt over his connections with industry during his senate confirmation hearing Thursday. The former oil and gas lobbyist has been criticized in recent months for appearing to help out clients he used to represent.

Bureau of Land Management

President Trump’s proposed budget includes significant cuts to the Department of Interior, including the National Park Service. 

More than 750 days into the Trump administration and the Department of Interior may be violating a little known-law. The Vacancies Act was designed specifically for top federal positions that are nominated by the president and need Senate approval. Anne Joseph O'Connell is an expert on the federal law and a professor of law at Stanford University.

Wi-Fi can be hard to find in the rural parts of our region. In fact, about six in ten rural Americans believe access to high-speed internet is a problem where they live. But that might change. Today the Department of Interior announced a new effort to increase access to broadband on federal lands.

Updated 6:36 p.m. MST

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to nominate David Bernhardt as the nation’s next Interior Secretary. The former oil industry lobbyist and longtime government employee has been acting Secretary since Ryan Zinke stepped down last month amid questions about his ethics and conflicts of interest.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is departing the Trump Administration at the end of the year. He’s one of a handful of cabinet-level officials that’s been with the administration from the start. With Zinke’s departure, a list of possible replacements is floating around, and a pair of Idaho politicians are finalists.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP

After more than a century at the forefront on public lands protections, a new report finds the U.S. is being edged out by its neighbors to the north and the south.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the subject of at least three open federal investigations. But on the right-wing talk show Breitbart News Sunday, Zinke dismissed news of his imminent departure from the Trump administration.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced a grant program Monday that aims to improve the habitat and migration corridors of big game animals in the West. However, some groups are concerned that it’s not enough to mitigate potential harm caused by oil and gas development. The Department of the Interior has leased more than a million acres to oil and gas since President Trump took office.

Since taking power at the U.S. Interior Department last year, Secretary Ryan Zinke has been the subject of more than a dozen investigations by the DOI’s Office of Inspector General. Some are ongoing and the latest report was released Monday.

USFWS

The Department of Interior just released a new science policy that it says will increase transparency. But conservationists are concerned. 

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