Interior secretary hits road for green tour

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is hitting the road next week to promote her conservation initiatives.

Jewell this week announced plans to work closer with states across the country in protecting more public lands and preserving the economic value of national sites, and is following it up with a tour. 

She will start with the release of a new national report on the economic contributions of the nation's 561 national wildlife refuges while visiting Minnesota's Valley National Wildlife Refuge next Tuesday.

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During a speech on Thursday, Jewell stressed how much local economies depend on national sites and refuges. 

"All told, we estimate that the closure of the national park system alone cost local communities at least $76 million per day in total visitor spending," Jewell said on Thursday.

On Friday, Jewell will meet with stakeholders and members of the public to discuss possible national monument designations along the Mendocino coastline in California. 

Jewell has defended the need to continue to protect lands as national monuments despite GOP opposition. 

She called threats by lawmakers to halt new protections for lands until the current maintenance backlog at the park service is addressed a "common refrain" sung by members who simply want to squeeze the department's budget.