In 1803, the government of the United States, under the leadership of President Thomas Jefferson, acquired 828,000 square miles of France’s claim to the territory of Louisiana. The territory doubled the size of the United States, and encompassed millions of acres of unexplored land.
In his role as Secretary of the Treasury, NYU’s founder Albert Gallatin was tasked with planning the Lewis and Clark expedition, which mapped much of this new territory. After his service as Treasury Secretary was over, Gallatin even wrote a monumental treatise describing the characteristics, territories and languages of all known Native American tribes.
As the United States continued to expand in the decades before the Civil War, Gallatin’s contributions were essential to the creation of the Department of Interior in 1849. At first the Department was charged with the construction of the national capital's water system, the colonization of freed slaves in Haiti, exploration of western wilderness, oversight of the District of Columbia jail, regulation of territorial governments, management of hospitals and universities, management of public parks, and the basic responsibilities for Indians, public lands, patents, and pensions.
Today, the DOI has $11 billion budget, 70,000 employees and stewardship of 20 percent of the territory of the United States with responsibilities that include supervising oil drilling on public lands and waters, protecting endangered species, managing millions of acres of public lands, coping with climate change and coordinating federal relations with hundreds of American Indian tribes.
NYU Dialogues welcomed the Department of Interior for the Inaugural Lewis and Clark Lectures. The lecture explored current issues facing the DOI, the implications of an increasingly urban U.S. populous, and the future of sustainable energy.
Expertise: Energy and environment
Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy at American Progress, where he leads the Center’s clean energy and climate advocacy campaign. Before coming to American Progress, he spent 25 years working with environmental advocacy organizations and political campaigns. Weiss is an expert in energy and environmental policy; legislative strategy and tactics; and advocacy communications.
Prior to his time at M+R Strategic Services, Weiss served for 16 years at the Sierra Club, first as a Washington representative, then as director of the Environmental Quality Program, and for the final eight years as political director. He was chief strategist and lobbyist for legislative campaigns around the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Food Security Act, and budget bills.
A graduate of the University of Michigan with both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Policy degrees, Weiss has been involved with presidential, Senate, and House campaigns across the country since he was old enough to vote.
Tommy P. Beaudreau was appointed to serve as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management (ASLM) at the U.S. Department of the Interior on March 18, 2013. In this capacity, he provides administrative oversight over four bureaus within the Department – the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM). In addition to providing administrative oversight, the ASLM also participates in the development of policies concerning public land management, resource use, regulatory oversight and enforcement, and seeks to promote their effective implementation by the BLM, BOEM, BSEE, and OSM.
Mr. Beaudreau also is currently serving as the Director of BOEM, which is responsible for overseeing the environmentally and economically responsible development of the Nation’s offshore resources. The BOEM manages the conventional and renewable ocean energy and mineral resources on 1.7 billion acres of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
Mr. Beaudreau joined the Department of the Interior in June 2010 to help develop and lead the Department’s aggressive reforms of offshore energy management and oversight following the Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill, including the reorganization of the former Minerals Management Service. He served as the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, where he played an integral role in designing and implementing the Bureau’s broad reform agenda with respect to the regulation of offshore oil and gas development.
The BOEM was established in October 2011. The agency’s responsibilities include leasing, plan administration, environmental studies, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, resource evaluation, economic analysis and the offshore renewable energy program.
Prior to his work at Interior, Mr. Beaudreau was a partner at the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Mr. Beaudreau is a graduate of Yale University and received his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Jonathan B. Jarvis began his career with the National Park Service in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C. Today, he manages that agency whose mission is to preserve America's most treasured landscapes and cultural icons.
Jarvis's 37-year career has taken him from ranger to resource management specialist to park biologist to superintendent of parks such as Craters of the Moon, North Cascades, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Mount Rainier. Before being confirmed as the 18th Director of the National Park Service on September 24, 2009, Jarvis served as regional director of the bureau's Pacific West Region.
Today, he is responsible for overseeing an agency with more than 22,000 employees, a $3 billion budget, and 401national parks that attract more than 280 million visitors every year who generate $30 billion in economic benefit across the nation.
Jarvis has also reinvigorated the National Park Service's role as an international advocate for protected areas and recognized world leader in cultural and natural resource management.