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U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Department of the Interior

Established in 1849, the U.S. Department of the Interior has primary management and conservation responsibility for all federal lands and minerals, national parks, water resources, and wildlife refuges. Its secretary reports directly to the president, and the department's responsibilities are divided among a number of agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Mines, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, Geological Survey, National Park Service, and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Among its primary objectives are the wise use of land and natural resources, the protection of animal and plant species, the promotion of environmental values among U.S. citizens, and environmental protection balanced with mineral resource needs. Its responsibilities include the coordination of its agencies' activities, data collection and analysis concerning natural resources, and minimization and mitigation of mining and other human activities adversely affecting public lands. Serving in a complementary role to the department's management responsibilities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforces a number of environmental laws (e.g., the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and Wilderness Act) which help to protect the resources under the department's jurisdiction.

see also Mining; National Park Service.


Goldsteen, Joel B. (1999). The ABCs of Environmental Regulation. Rockville, MD: Government Institutes.

internet resource

"Orientation to the U.S. Department of the Interior." Available at

Robert F. Gruenig

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