This week, White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory traveled to Alaska to highlight efforts the Biden-Harris Administration is taking through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the America the Beautiful Initiative to advance fish and wildlife conservation, strengthen climate resilience and restoration, invest in Tribal Nations and communities, support local economies and build a better America.
On Monday, Chair Mallory travelled to Seward, where she visited the Kenai Fjords National Park aboard a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) vessel, to see firsthand the impacts of climate change on the coastline and the rich fjord estuary ecosystem and its wildlife. Chair Mallory also visited Exit Glacier, which has receded a total of 2,300 feet in the last 13 years, a change driven by climate change.
On Tuesday, Chair Mallory toured Coast Guard Base Kodiak where she discussed action the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to help restore aquatic habitats and ecosystems, build coastal resilience, enhance fish passage, and support Pacific salmon recovery. She also learned about the ongoing restoration and recovery efforts, and Tribal and state partnerships for fish and habitat conservation.
In addition, Chair Mallory toured the North Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center (NPRFTC), where she learned about programs to properly enforce Federal fishery laws and combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing—missions that support Alaska’s world class domestic fishery, a significant economic driver in the region.
On Wednesday, Chair Mallory met with leaders from the United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB) to hear their priorities for the protection of the Bristol Bay region and convened a meeting with the Alaska Federation of Natives’ (AFN) Board of Directors to discuss how the Administration will deliver for Tribal communities and build a better America by implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Chair Mallory also met with the Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) to discuss the threat of the development of the Pebble mine and the Corporation’s efforts to create permanent protections for the waters and wildlife of Bristol Bay. Her visit comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 10 Office announced a revised Proposed Determination under Clean Water Act Section 404(c) to prohibit and restrict the use of certain waters in the Bristol Bay watershed as disposal sites for the discharge of dredged or fill material associated with mining the Pebble deposit. EPA Region 10 is hosting listening sessions in the region this week.
She later delivered remarks at the Second General Assembly of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to share President Biden’s commitment to strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship between Federal agencies and Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities. She discussed the administration’s work on supporting Indigenous Knowledge and incorporating Tribal conservation priorities into the America the Beautiful initiative.
On Thursday, Chair Mallory joined the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for a flyover tour of the Cook Inlet volcanoes to learn about the different types of hazards associated with volcanic unrest and how the USGS’s monitoring and warning networks operate, and viewed glaciers that have receded significantly over the past 20 years.
Today, Chair Mallory travelled to Juneau, where she met with the Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy Partners (SSP) to discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy. She then visited the Tribal Community of Angoon, where she discussed the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to restoring protections for the Tongass National Forest under the Roadless Rule.
In April, President Biden signed an Executive Order to expand his Administration’s historic and bold efforts to tackle the climate crisis, make our nation more resilient to extreme weather, and strengthen local economies. The Administration will leverage investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the President’s FY 2022 budget, and work in partnership with states, Tribal Nations, communities, industry, NGOs, labor, scientists, and private landowners, to strengthen our forests, like the Tongass, while creating good-paying jobs.