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Interior, United States Department of the

Interior, United States Department of the, federal executive department established in 1849, delegated custodian of U.S. natural resources, and whose head, the Secretary of the Interior, has cabinet rank. Bureaus dealing with the department's responsibility for mineral resources include: the Geological Survey, the Bureau of Mines, the Minerals Management Service, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The Bureau of Mines was established in 1910 to oversee mineral use and to promote safety in the mining industry. The department's responsibility for water and power resources is handled primarily by the Bureau of Reclamation and various specific power administrations that operate projects generating electrical power. The divisions of the department concerned with public land management include the bureaus of Indian Affairs and Land Management. The Bureau of Land Management was formed in 1946 by merging the General Land Office with the Grazing Service. It manages and disposes of public land under programs designed to produce multiple use and sustained yield of resources while maintaining a quality environment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, reorganized in 1970, is responsible for planning for the use and enjoyment of sport fishing and wildlife resources. It runs fish hatcheries and wildlife refuges, manages animal populations, and regulates the natural environment. The National Park Service, established in 1916, acts as trustee for the areas designated as national parks and monuments. It is charged with maintaining and preserving them for present and future enjoyment.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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