Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
A. Conflicting Financial Interests - Section 2635.402
Question: What is a conflict of interest?
Answer: Simply put, it's working on a matter in which you have a personal interest, and therefore about which you may be less than objective.
Question: What is the basic conflict of interest rule?
Answer: Executive branch employees are prohibited by a Federal criminal statute from working on matters that could benefit their personal interests. For the rule to apply, you or someone close to you must have a personal interest in the matter in question. For purposes of this rule, an employee is responsible for the financial interests of --
the employee's spouse or minor child
the employee's general partner
an organization in which the employee serves as an officer, director, trustee, general partner, employee, regardless of whether the position is salaried, and
a person with whom the employee is negotiating for or has an arrangement concerning prospective employment.
Question: How does a conflict of interest get resolved?
Answer: There are a number of ways in which an employee may deal with a potential conflict of interest. The employee may simply not participate in the matter that would pose the conflict. This is called "recusal" or "disqualification." If the financial interest is a modest one, the statute may be waived after consultation with the Office of Government Ethics (OGE). A personal financial interest may be sold, or "divested." Which remedy is appropriate will depend upon the particular circumstances.
One remedy that is often appropriate for avoiding a potential conflict of interest is recusal or disqualification. This simply means that the employee does not participate in a matter that could affect the employee's financial interest.
Another remedy for dealing with conflicts of interest is the use of waivers. An individual waiver of the statutory bar may be granted by an authorized official when the conflicting financial interest is not substantial. For example, an official might grant a waiver where the employee owned only a few shares of a particular stock. Waivers may also be granted to special Government employees serving on advisory committees. OGE has issued regulatory waivers for certain classes of financial interests at 5 CFR Part 2640.
Certificates of Divestiture
Section 1043 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the deferral of capital gains taxes on assets that must be sold to comply with ethics program requirements. Proceeds from divested assets must be reinvested in certain specified categories of investments (basically mutual funds or Government securities). In order to take advantage of the tax deferral mechanism, a Certificate of Divestiture must be obtained from OGE before the sale occurs. Your Counsel's office will assist you this process if divestiture is appropriate.
B. Prohibited Financial Interest Section 2635.403
Question: Are there financial interests that the Department prohibits all employees from having?
Answer: No Each employee's financial interests are evaluated in terms of his or her duties. Below are a list of offices and bureaus that have restrictions on holding specified property:
The Secretary and employees of the Office of the Secretary;
Other Departmental offices reporting directly to a Secretarial officer who are in positions classified at GS-15 and above;
Minerals Management Services employees;
Bureau of Land Management; and
U.S. Geological Survey. 5 CFR 3501.103 and 43 CFR §20.401/31(a)