ICYMI: U.S. Interior Department Secretary Haaland’s Colorado Visit Highlights Investments in Drought, Wildland Fire, and Conservation Efforts
WASHINGTON — During a multi-day tour across Colorado last week, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland met with community leaders, elected officials, Tribes, and Department of the Interior employees to highlight the Biden-Harris administration’s investments in drought and wildland fire preparedness, efforts to grow local outdoor recreation economies, and commitments to advancing conservation in line with America the Beautiful.
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DENVER, Colo. — Secretary Haaland visited Denver on Thursday to discuss the worsening drought conditions in the West and highlight the Department’s efforts to support farmers, Tribes, and communities impacted by ongoing water shortages. Secretary Haaland, Governor Jared Polis, Rep. Diana DeGette, and other local, state, and federal leaders discussed the ongoing drought during a roundtable at the Denver Water Center.
Confronting the historic drought that has a firm grip on the American West requires a heavy federal infrastructure investment to protect existing water supplies but also will depend on efforts at all levels of government to reduce demand by promoting water efficiency and recycling, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Thursday.
The federal government intends to provide immediate assistance to water users impacted by the West’s historic drought and develop longer-term strategies to respond to climate change, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland pledged Thursday during a visit to Denver. Haaland — flanked by Assistant Interior Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, and Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead — spoke to the press after meeting with state and local officials at the Denver Water Administration building to discuss collaborating on addressing climate change and water-related issues in the West.
The Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, will visit Denver to address the worsening drought and wildfire conditions. The biggest area of concern is the deep drought on the western slope. Haaland will be in Grand Junction Friday talking about wildland fire preparedness and response. On Saturday, Haaland will be in Ridgeway discussing Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Secretary Haaland traveled to Grand Junction on Friday, where she discussed the Department’s wildland fire preparedness and response efforts, including a $6.1 million investment to improve the Grand Junction Air Center complex, a multi-purpose wildland fire management and operation center. Secretary Haaland was joined by Governor Jared Polis and members of the Colorado congressional delegation.
During her stop in Grand Junction, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced new investments totaling $6.1 million to bolster wildland fire management operations in the area. The investments will go to improve the Grand Junction Air Center complex, a multi-purpose wildland fire management and operation center, according to a release from the Interior Department. The improvements include replacing multiple aging buildings with a single, cost-effective structure.
Haaland and the Colorado delegation toured the Grand Junction Air Center — a multi-purpose wildland fire management and operation center — where they discussed wildfire mitigation and a $6.1 million investment to eliminate safety hazards by replacing multiple structurally deficient buildings with a single cost-effective building.
IGNACIO, Colo. — Secretary Haaland made stops in Palisade, Hotchkiss, Ridgway, and Ignacio to highlight locally led efforts to advance conservation and grow the state’s outdoor recreation economy, consistent with the Administration’s America the Beautiful initiative. She also discussed the Department’s support for rural and Tribal communities as the nation transitions to a robust, sustainable clean energy future.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland wrapped up the last day of a three-day jaunt through Colorado with a discussion of outdoor recreation with county commissioners and conservation representatives. Haaland landed in Denver on Thursday, where she met with Gov. Jared Polis and other water leaders to discuss drought issues. On Friday, she traveled to Grand Junction to tour the Bureau of Land Management’s Grand Junction Air Center, which dispatches tankers and firefighters, and to meet with employees at the BLM headquarters, which is under review by the Biden administration on whether to allow that headquarters to remain in Grand Junction or move it back to Washington, D.C.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland met with Western Slope county commissioners and Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper at Top of the Pines near Ridgway on Saturday, discussing and championing for passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, which unites four previous legislation initiatives: the San Juan Wilderness Act, Thompson Withdrawal and Protection Act, Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act, and the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act.
Western Slope county commissioners met with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper at Top of the Pines outside of Ridgway Saturday, advocating for the passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, which proposes protections for about 400,000 acres of public land in the state. The measure was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in February as part of the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. It has passed there twice before but has yet to make it out of the Senate. President Joe Biden’s administration has said it “strongly supports” the public lands package.
About the U.S. Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.