Department of the Interior

#ActOnClimate because our kids and grandkids should be able to enjoy beautiful places like these.

The EPA today released a proposal that will set the first-ever national carbon pollution standards limits for America’s existing power plants. Find out how the rules will make our communities healthier, and learn more about the President’s plan to cut carbon pollution in America.

Today, post photos of your favorite places, of places where you and your family get outdoors, and tag with #ActOnClimate.  We’ll post our favorites here on My Public Lands Tumblr!

View more beautiful BLM-managed places on the BLM’s My Public Lands Flickr site; photos here by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist.

Happy 166th birthday to us! On this day in 1849, the Interior Department was established to take charge of the nation’s internal affairs. Today, Interior is responsible for conserving America’s natural resources and public lands, like Yosemite National Park (California) pictured here. Photo of the Yosemite Valley on a spring day by Lesli Cohan ( 


A combination night sky/rolling fog view from BLM lands in California to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the creation of the Bureau of Land Management.


Zootopia visual development . 3 more illustrations me trying to find  a good balance between a mammal made world, very organic and the 1960′s retro interiors design that the directors wanted back then beginning of 2012. I took an extra care to find the right details on the wobbly and mismatched furnitures. a fancy balance between nature and manufacture. I had great fun on those.
Erased By False Victory: Obama Hasn’t Stopped DAPL
By erasing an ongoing struggle, you’re helping to build a pipeline.

My brilliant friend Kelly wrote this on understanding the fine print of yesterday’s rulings. Here’s a choice quote 

To understand that this isn’t the victory it’s being billed as, you have to read the fine print in the presently lauded joint statement from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior:

“The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws.”

Note what’s actually being said here, what’s being promised and what isn’t.

What is actually being guaranteed?

Further consideration.

But this next section is a little more promising, right?

“Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.  The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved — including the pipeline company and its workers — deserves a clear and timely resolution.  In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahu.”

So things are on hold at Lake Oahe until the powers that be think it through some more — with no assurances about how they’ll feel when it’s all said and done. The rest is a voluntary ask being extended to the company.

Let’s reflect on that for a moment: A company that recently sicced dogs on Water Protectors, including families, who stepped onto a sacred site to prevent its destruction, is being asked to voluntarily do the right thing.

But the thing is, they probably will. For a moment. Because what’s being asked of them isn’t an actual reroute. Right now, all that’s being asked is that they play their part in a short term political performance aimed at letting the air out of a movement’s tires.

Presidential contender Hillary Clinton was beginning to take a bit of heat for her silence on the Standing Rock struggle. Between Jill Stein’s participation in a lockdown action, broadening social media support for the cause, and the beginnings of substantial media coverage, #NoDAPL was on the verge of being a real thorn in Clinton’s side. And with more than 3,000 Natives gathered in an unprecedented act of collective resistance, an unpredictable and possibly transformational force was menacing a whole lot of powerful agendas.

So what did the federal government do? Probably the smartest thing they could have: They gave us the illusion of victory.

As someone who organizes against state violence, I know the patterns of pacification in times of unrest all too well. When a Black or Brown person is murdered by the police, typically without consequence, and public outrage ensues, one of the pacifications we are offered is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will investigate the shooting. It’s a deescalation tactic on the part of the state. It helps transition away from moments when rage and despair collide, creating a cooling off period for the public. “Justice” is still possible, we are told. We are asked to be patient as this very serious matter is investigated at the highest level of government, and given all due consideration.

The reality, of course, is that the vast majority of investigations taken up by the DOJ Civil Rights Division end in dismissal – a batting average that’s pretty much inverse to that of other federal investigations. But by the time a case gets tossed at the federal level, it’s probably not front page news anymore, and any accumulated organizing momentum behind the issue may have been lost — because to many people, the mere announcement of a federal investigation means that the system is working. Someone is looking into this, they’re assured. Something is being done. Important people have expressed that they care, and thus there is hope.

So how is this similar to what’s happening with Standing Rock?

It’s the same old con game.

Federal authorities are going to give a very serious matter very serious consideration, and then… we’ll see.

The formula couldn’t be clearer.

As the joint statement says, “this case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”


How many times have marginalized people been offered further discussion when what they needed was substantive action? And how often has the mere promise of conversation born fruit for those in a state of protest?

But this is a great moment for the Democrats. A political landmine has been swept out of Hillary Clinton’s path and Obama will be celebrated as having “stopped a pipeline” when the project has, at best, been paused. After all, an actual pause in construction, outside of the Lake Oahe area, assumes the cooperation of a relentless, violent corporation, that has already proven it’s wiling to let dogs loose on children to keep its project on track.

But Dakota Access, LLC probably will turn off its machines — for a (very) little while. They’ll wait for the media traction that’s been gained to dissipate, and for the #NoDAPL hashtag to get quieter. They’ll wait until the political moment is less fraught, and their opposition is less amped. And then they will get back to work — if we allow it.

Here’s the real story: This fight has neither been won nor lost. Our people are rising and they are strong. But the illusion of victory is a dangerous thing. Some embrace it because they don’t know better, some because they need to. We all want happy endings. Hell, I long for them, and I get tired waiting. But if you raise a glass to Obama and declare this battle won, you are erasing a battle that isn’t over yet. And by erasing an ongoing struggle, you’re helping to build a pipeline.

“My dear Mr. Adams:
Secretary Ickes and I would like to confer with you at your convenience the next time you are in the East…”

Letter from E. K. Burlew to Ansel Adams, 6/10/1941.
File Unit: Adams, Ansel, 6/10/1941 - 12/10/1943.  Series: Official Personnel File of Ansel E. Adams, 6/10/1941 - 12/10/1943Record Group 146: Records of the U.S. Civil Service Commission, 1871 - 2001

Seventy-five years ago in 1941 noted photographer Ansel Adams was recruited by the Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, to photograph the national parks.  Ickes intended to select a number of these photos to be printed as murals and hung around the Department of Interior building.  Adams would later claim this was “one of the best ideas ever to come out of Washington.”  (Adams had first met Harold Ickes while lobbying for the creation of Kings Canyon National Park in 1936. )

Adams’ project for the Department of the Interior began in October 1941. Adams was granted the maximum annual salary for any position not subject to congressional approval, twenty-two dollars and twenty cents a day.  In the nine months that followed, Adams traveled between parks, capturing photos of the Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone, Boulder Dam, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and many others.  Unfortunately, the project was terminated on July 1, 1942 due to pressures of World War II.  These photos are now public records and available at the National Archives.  

Read more about Adams’ project at The Unwritten Record » Happy Birthday, Rocky Mountain National Park.  The photographer later visited the National Archives on several occasions to review his work: Ansel Adams visits the National Archives.

The Tetons - Snake River,” Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming., 1933 - 1942, from the series Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, 1941 - 1942

See more than 200 of Adam’s photos in the National Archives Catalog: 
Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, 1941 - 1942 »

2016 also marks the centennial of the National Park Service.  Be sure to follow our colleagues at @phillyarchives​ and @riversidearchives​ for more #NPS100 related posts!

See all our National Parks posts »


Bureau of Land Management and Team Rubicon Partner to Fight Wildfires, Provide Training and Employment for Veterans

As over 200 wildfires burn in Alaska, a new veterans crew yesterday, June 25th, picked up wildland firefighting gear and prepared for a new mission. They recently became certified wildland firefighters through a partnership between the BLM and the veteran’s non-profit organization Team Rubicon.

The crew, listed below, includes employees from the BLM Wyoming Wind River/ Big Horn Basin and High Plains Districts, US Forest Service and Team Rubicon firefighters from Colorado and Wyoming. 

  • Heath Morgan, Crew Boss
  • Nate Kerschner, Crew Boss Trainee
  • Carson Mountford, Firefighter
  • Cody Smith, Firefighter
  • Josh Garcia, Firefighter
  • Eli Worrall, Firefighter
  • Colter Brown, Firefighter
  • Justin Rockhill, Firefighter
  • Jacob Osgood, Firefighter, Army Veteran
  • Noelle Skilton, Firefighter, Army and Navy Veteran
  • Aaron Kirby, Firefighter, Army Veteran
  • William Talyor, Firefighter and EMT
  • Chase Decker, Firefighter, Marine Corps Veteran
  • Cody Cowan, Firefighter
  • Michael Gately, Firefighter, Marine Corps Veteran 
  • John Green, Firefighter, Army Veteran
  • Marc Gonzalez, Firefighter, Navy Veteran
  • Jason Kennedy, Firefighter, Army Veteran
  • Chris Merrit, Firefighter, Army Veteran
  • Cal Hoffman, Firefighter, Army Veteran
  • Beau Kidd, USFS Division Supervisor
  • Samantha Storms, Firefighter and BLM Public Information Officer

These veterans are the first group of five around the country to participate in wildland firefighter training through the partnership. The training provides the necessary classroom instruction and field experience for the Team Rubicon veterans to receive their Type-2 Firefighter certification, making them eligible to be dispatched to a fire incident and paid as firefighters.

Team Rubicon is an international nonprofit disaster response organization that combines the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to deploy disaster response teams to communities affected by disasters across the country. On June 9th, Interior Secretary Jewell announced a partnership between the BLM and Team Rubicon to hire and train up to 400 veterans this summer in order to increase our firefighting response capabilities. CLICK HERE to read more about this partnership and the coming fire season.

Follow the experiences of the new Team Rubicon and BLM Wyoming firefighters in Alaska on @BLMCareers Twitter!

Happy 167th birthday to us! The Interior Department was created on March 3, 1849, to take care of our nation’s internal affairs. Today, Interior is responsible for conserving America’s treasured natural resources and public lands, like Glacier National Park in Montana, pictured here on a spring day. Photo by Greg Chancey (


Spring Cherry Blossom season in Washington DC