Interior Dept. estimates its activities generated $385B in 2011
Written byLAURA PETERSEN, Greenwire
The wide range of Interior Department activities, from overseeing oil drilling on public lands to providing recreational opportunities in national parks, contributed $385 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 2 million jobs in fiscal 2011, the agency said today.
Energy development and mining on Interior-managed lands and offshore areas accounted for the largest share, generating $275 billion in economic activity and supporting about 1.5 million jobs in fiscal 2011, according to the report, which was produced by Interior's Office of Policy Analysis.
The 435 million recreational visits to national parks, refuges, forests and other public lands last year were the second-largest economic engine for the department, contributing about $48.7 billion and supporting 403,000 jobs.
Water supply, forage and timber activities taking place mostly in the West was also a substantial contributor at $41 billion and 290,000 jobs, the report says.
Activities on tribal lands, construction and maintenance, and grant programs were other leading factors that added up to the total economic contribution by the department's nine bureaus.
"The Interior Department has a uniquely diverse mission that benefits the American people by promoting tourism, outdoor recreation, energy development and other economic activities that fuel local economies," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. "This report underscores that there are real, lasting impacts on communities and small businesses across the country where Interior is helping to strengthen economies and support families."