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.
Abbey to Strengthen Safety Requirements for Exploration and Development Plans on Outer Continental Shelf
All Pending and Approved Plans Must Be Revised Before New Drilling
Last edited 4/25/2016
Washington, DC: Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey, who has been called upon to also serve as Acting Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), today announced that, before drilling new oil and gas wells on the Outer Continental Shelf, operators will be required to submit additional information about potential risks and safety considerations in their plans for exploration or development. Exploration plans and development plans that have already been approved by MMS, including those that were approved using ‘categorical exclusions' under the National Environmental Policy Act, will need to be resubmitted before any drilling of new wells.
“The moratorium on deepwater drilling that Secretary Salazar has ordered is a prudent step that will allow time for the Presidential Commission to complete its review of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and for immediate safety and environmental reforms to be implemented,” said Abbey. “Pulling back exploration plans and development plans and requiring them to be updated with new information is consistent with this cautious approach and will ensure that new safety standards and risk considerations are incorporated into those planning documents. In the long term, we also need Congress to approve the Administration's proposal to fix the law that requires MMS to review exploration plans within a 30-day mandatory deadline.”
Director Abbey's directive, which will be communicated to operators and lessees through a Notice to Lessees (NTL), will establish separate requirements for deep water and shallow water exploration and development plans.
Deep Water Exploration Plans and Development Plans
Director Abbey's announcement today makes clear that after the deep water drilling moratorium, any new drilling must be under an exploration plan or development plan that takes into account new safety and environmental requirements and the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Shallow Water Exploration Plans and Development Plans
Oil and gas operations in waters less than 500 feet deep may move forward if they satisfy new safety and environmental requirements identified in Secretary Salazar's report to the President. Director Abbey's announcement today makes clear that any new drilling in shallow water must be under an exploration plan or development plan that includes information demonstrating compliance with the new safety standards.
Call for Congressional Action to Lift 30-Day Mandatory Deadline on Exploration Plan Reviews
Director Abbey will issue the exploration plan and development plan directive under his authority to ensure that operations on the Outer Continental Shelf are always conducted in a safe and workmanlike manner, to prevent injury or loss of life, and to prevent damage to any natural resource or the environment.
Director Abbey also reiterated, however, that Congress should approve the Administration's proposal to provide MMS more time to conduct reviews of exploration plans. Under current law, MMS is required to review exploration plans within 30 days. In the oil spill response legislation submitted to Congress on May 12, the Obama Administration is proposing to change the 30-day congressionally-mandated deadline to a 90-day timeline that can be further extended to complete additional environmental and safety reviews, as needed.
“The approach I am announcing today is not an ideal solution, but it is an interim strategy that MMS will employ until Congress fixes the law and until additional reform recommendations from CEQ and DOI are developed and implemented,” said Abbey.
The Department of the Interior will be issuing a Notice to Lessees (NTL) describing the interim approach MMS will be taking on reviewing exploration and development plans.