WASHINGTON — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland wrapped her week-long trip out West on Sunday, Dec. 12 as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s “Building a Better America” tour. Over the weekend, Secretary Haaland visited Palm Springs, Calif, and Las Vegas, Nev., to highlight how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help communities across the nation tackle the climate crisis by investing in a clean energy economy and addressing the worsening drought crisis.
On Saturday, Dec. 11, Secretary Haaland and Representative Raul Ruiz visited Palm Springs, Calif., where they toured onshore renewable energy projects in line with the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious renewable energy goals. They visited the Desert Sunlight Solar Farm and saw other lands with the potential to be sited for future clean energy projects. They also toured areas conserved for natural and cultural resources as part of the regional planning efforts, including the Corn Springs area surrounded by the Chuckwalla Mountains Wilderness.
The Interior Department is moving quickly to meet its goal of permitting at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy by 2025 by collaboratively partnering with states, cities, and Tribal communities.
“Renewable 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,” said Secretary Haaland. “The demand for renewable energy has never been greater. The technological advances, increased interest, cost effectiveness, and tremendous economic potential make these projects a promising path for diversifying our energy portfolio while at the same time combatting climate change and investing in communities.”
On Dec. 12, Secretary Haaland visited Las Vegas, Nev., where she, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo, and Representatives Susie Lee and Dina Titus held a listening session with local elected officials, business leaders and stakeholders to hear about the impacts that the ongoing drought crisis is having on their communities. Secretary Haaland also highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s historic $8.3 billion investment in water infrastructure and drought resilience that will fund water efficiency and recycling programs, rural water projects, and WaterSMART grants to ensure that irrigators, Tribes, and adjoining communities receive adequate assistance and support.
“Water is a sacred resource essential to Tribes and communities, growing crops, sustaining wildlife and the environment, and supporting agricultural businesses. Unfortunately, drought conditions in the West continue to worsen, and water allocations are at historic lows,” said Secretary Haaland. “There is an urgent need to minimize the impacts of drought and develop a long-term plan to facilitate conservation and economic growth, because drought doesn’t impact just one community — it affects all of us, from farmers and ranchers to city dwellers and Tribes.”
During her West Coast trip, Secretary Haaland also highlighted Interior’s efforts to increase access to public lands and urban green spaces, met with stakeholders to discuss the infrastructure law’s investments to address the long-lasting effects of legacy pollution, and attended the Western Governors Association’s Winter Meeting to underscore the importance of federal and state partnerships to successfully deploy these new and historic resources.
- Dept. of the Interior release