Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called Thursday for a long-term conservation strategy that balances economic development with on-the-ground mitigation and protection of natural resources, saying her agency will ensure that both goals are pursued during a period of climate change, tight budgets and increasing demands on land and water.
Jewell, whose department oversees 20 percent of the land in the United States, issued her first order as head of the agency Thursday, establishing a department-wide process to offset the impact of “large development projects” through “landscape-level planning, banking, in-lieu fee arrangement” and other measures.
“Today we have an unprecedented opportunity – using science and technology to create a better understanding of landscapes than ever before – to advance important conservation goals and achieve our development objectives. We know it doesn’t have to be an either-or,” Jewell said in a lunchtime speech at the National Press Club.
She also described her goal of engaging millennials, the generation ages 18-34, whom she said are disconnected from public lands. She outlined plans to develop outdoor recreation for 10 million members of that generation, enlist 1 million people — triple the current number — to support public lands and provide 100,000 work and training opportunities to young people.
“It’s critical that we work now to establish meaningful and deep connections between young people from every background and every community and the great outdoors,” Jewell said.