Department of the Interior

Agency

Legal Definition of Department of the Interior

federal executive division responsible for most of the nation's federally owned lands and natural resources as well as reservation communities for American Indians. In addition to the Bureau of Land Management (q.v.) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (q.v.), the department administers the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which leases offshore areas for the development of energy and mineral resources; the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), which oversees regulation regarding coal mining; the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages federal water and power resources; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (q.v.); the National Park Service (NPS), which manages the nation's 408 federal recreational areas, including historic sites; the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which is involved in the examination, mapping, and classification of public lands; and other research services.

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