Obama Celebrates Interior Dept.'s 160th Year

In a brief appearance at the Interior Department's headquarters, the president reinforces his commitment to America's great outdoors
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In a brief appearance at the Interior Department's headquarters, the president reinforces his commitment to America's great outdoors

The Interior Department got a nice birthday surprise today: President Obama stopped by to celebrate the department's 160th anniversary, and he even brought presents. Obama announced official plans to restore the Endangered Species Act to its pre-Bush-era strength, and he committed $3 billion to future Interior Department projects.

Those projects include pursuing renewable energy upgrades, funding "long-delayed work to preserve our natural wonders," and paving roads "on which 275 million visitors travel to reach these sites across our country." In bolstering the Endangered Species Act, Obama said he hopes to "help restore the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act." Obama also announced $100 million dedicated to boosting jobs and local economies on Indian reservations.

Obama also shared a charming story from his childhood, wherein his grandmother decided it was time for the young, Hawaiian-raised Barack to "see the mainland." On his visit, he stopped at the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. Here's the president telling the tale:

Amen, Mr. President—with presents like that, we don't even mind that you forgot the cake.

—Ted Alvarez

Obama marks Interior's 160th anniversary (Washington Post)