Mining Industry Urged to Expand Cooperative Restoration and Conservation Efforts on Public Lands
February 26, 2007

News - U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Office of the Secretary
For Immediate Release
Sent by: [email protected]
Contact: Frank Quimby [email protected] or 202-208-6416 or Vaughn Whatley [email protected] or 303-239-3766
Washington, D.C. - The mining industry has an opportunity to proactively join government and private land owners in assuring an adequate balance between energy development, wildlife and recreation in the President's Healthy Lands Initiative, Assistant Secretary Steve Allred told industry representatives today.
"It is in our vital interests to ensure that wildlife species, such as the sage grouse, are not added to the Endangered Species List," Allred said in keynote remarks delivered by audio conference to the Western Mining Conference. "Otherwise, we could face severely constrained public, as well as private, land use."  
The Western Mining Conference is a joint meeting of the Colorado Mining Association (CMA) and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).  Allred was scheduled to deliver his remarks in person, but cancelled airline flights due to snowstorms prevented him from attending the conference in Denver, Colorado.
Allred, who oversees land and minerals management agencies at the Interior Department, emphasized the mining industry's critical role in helping the nation to protect western landscapes and wildlife habitat, while meeting the nation's growing demand for energy by providing coal and other raw materials such as sand and gravel, from public and private lands. He urged the industry to expand and intensify conservation and restoration activities by participating in a Healthy Lands Initiative proposed in President Bush's FY08 budget for Interior.

"This initiative proposes a new comprehensive, proactive approach to public land management," Allred said. "It focuses on landscape-scale habitat conservation, instead of on a unit-by-unit basis, and uses an extensive partnership network and new land use planning techniques and policy tools."

The proposal would accelerate and expand ongoing habitat restoration projects, focusing on key areas of the West where the work will provide the greatest benefit, he said. It is designed to better address wildlife needs through lifecycles - targeting migration routes, specialized breeding, nesting or wintering requirements. The FY08 Interior budget calls for $22 million for the initiative, which is expected to attract at least an additional $10 million in leveraged in-kind and monetary resources.

Allred noted that sage grouse habitat ranges across 10 western states, covering 165 million acres. About 72 percent of that land is under federal management and the sage grouse has already been considered for Endangered Species Act listing. "This habitat overlays significant energy and mineral deposits," he noted. "The consequences of the species being listed would be significant."

Citing findings of the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Allred noted that even with accelerated use of alternative and renewable energy, oil, natural gas and coal are expected to continue to meet the bulk of the nation's energy requirements through 2030. Other minerals, such as sand and gravel and metallics, play a crucial role in support of energy development.

"This is why we need to work together for the health of the land, wildlife, local communities, the economy and our quality of life," Allred said.

About one third of the nation's domestic energy comes from Interior managed lands and offshore areas. This includes 44 percent of coal produced in the United States. [The U.S. Department of the] Interior manages 500 million acres of public lands, most of which are in the West, and oversees oil and natural gas production on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The mining industry has already invested considerable resources and made remarkable progress in leaving a lighter footprint on the land, Allred said. He noted the industry's increasing use of innovative mining technology that minimizes environmental impacts and restoration techniques that re-contour, re-seed and enrich the soil, creating healthy landscapes with new wetland, forest and rangeland habitat.

"In many cases, the land is even more productive after reclamation than before mining," he said. "Our goal is to support land use while keeping lands healthy and productive. This is something we all need to be involved in. We don't have a choice - if we don't do it now, we will be forced to deal with more Endangered Species Act listings and the consequences of that for energy and mineral production on public lands." 

2007 DOI News, to date:

02/26/2007  Mining Industry Urged to Expand Cooperative Restoration and Conservation Efforts on Public Lands

 02/23/2007  Assistant Secretary Allred to Deliver Keynote Remarks to Western Mining Conference
 02/22/2007  Secretary Kempthorne To Tour Bureau Of Land Management Lands In Southeastern New Mexico; Discuss Impact Of Healthy Lands Initiative
 02/21/2007  Secretary Kempthorne to Meet with Tribal Leaders in Arizona About Budget Initiatives to Fight Meth and Strengthen Schools
 02/15/2007  Cason Issues Positive Final Determination to Acknowledge the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribal Council, Inc., as an Indian Tribe
 02/13/2007  Kempthorne, D.C. Students Join 20 Million Visitors for Electronic Field Trip to National Park
 02/12/2007  The 198th Anniversary of the Birth of President Abraham Lincoln observed at the Lincoln Memorial
 02/12/2007  Secretary Kempthorne, NPS Director Bomar, Delegate Norton and Mayor Fenty to Lead Ceremony on 2/14
 02/12/2007  Secretary Kempthorne to Join D.C. Students for an Electronic Field Trip to a National Park
 02/12/2007  Commemorating the 198th Anniversary of the Birth of President Abraham Lincoln
 02/08/2007  Other Lighthouses Nationwide under Consideration
 02/07/2007  Kempthorne to Visit Independence National Historical Park to Discuss NPS Budget, Centennial Challenge, Area Parks
 02/07/2007  Jim Hughes is Acting Director of Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management
 02/06/2007  Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett to Showcase the "National Park Centennial Challenge" and the President's 2008 proposed budget
 02/05/2007  National Park Service Budget & Centennial Initiative Roll-Out Media/Press Call-In
 02/05/2007  President's Budget Will Improve National Parks, Working Landscapes, Indian Education and Safety
 02/05/2007  Healthy Lands Initiative Restores, Protects Wildlife Habitat While Meeting Nation's Vital Energy Needs
 02/05/2007  Kempthorne: Indian Initiatives Focus on Safety, Education of American Indian Youth
 02/05/2007  Kempthorne: President's Centennial Initiative Calls for $3 Billion to Improve, Expand National Park Programs
 02/02/2007  Secretary Kempthorne to Discuss Administration's Proposed Fiscal Year 2008 Budget for Interior
 01/31/2007  Interior Secretary Kempthorne and Minister Sun of the China Ministry of Land and Resources Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Promote Future Cooperation on Natural Resources
 01/31/2007  U.S.-Canadian Science Pact to Improve Monitoring of Land Cover, Biodiversity, Climate Change
 01/30/2007  Interior Secretary Kempthorne and Minister Sun of China Ministry of Land and Resources To Sign Memorandum of Understanding To Facilitate Future Cooperation
 01/29/2007  Interior Department Announces Delisting of Western Great Lakes Wolves; Proposed Delisting of Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves
 01/26/2007  Bush Administration Announces $140 Million More for Clean Ocean Priorities
 01/26/2007  FACT SHEET - President Bush Continues His Strong Commitment to Our Oceans And Proposes Substantial New Funding for Oceans Priorities
 01/26/2007  Secretary Kempthorne Highlights Progress To Achieve Goals of U.S. Ocean Action Plan
 01/25/2007  Bush Administration Officials to Announce Landmark Budget Request for Ocean Priorities
 01/24/2007  Secretary Kempthorne Welcomes President's Call for Increased Energy Efficiency in Federal Government
 01/24/2007  Interior Secretary Kempthorne Presents Top Conservation Award to Maryland Eagle Scout Joshua Stone
 01/19/2007  Deputy Secretary Scarlett Announces Fish and Wildlife Service Grants to Conserve Coastal Wetlands in 14 States
 01/18/2007  Allred Asks Congress for Additional Tools to Resolve Royalty Issue on 1998-1999 Leases in Gulf of Mexico
 01/18/2007  Interior Secretary Kempthorne to Give Keynote Speech On Status of Everglades Restoration
 01/12/2007  Secretary Kempthorne Urges Students to Emulate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Courage, Vision
 01/11/2007  Kempthorne to Speak at National Park Service Special Observance for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
 01/09/2007  Kempthorne May Offer Areas in North Aleutian Basin, Central Gulf of Mexico for Leasing; Increases Royalty Rate for Offshore Oil and Gas Leases