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.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
Interior Deputy Secretary Hayes Highlights Administration's Commitment to Safe and Responsible Domestic Energy Development in Alaska
Launches Coordinated Renewable Energy Initiatives in Alaska as part of Interagency Working Group; NPR-A Lease Sale Set for December
ANCHORAGE—Wrapping up a trip to Alaska, Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes today highlighted several initiatives underway to spur development of our nation's domestic energy resources, including federal task force efforts to help harness Alaska's renewable and conventional energy resources, and an oil and gas lease sale for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A). The initiatives are part of a series of steps President Obama announced this past spring to continue to expand safe and responsible production of our domestic resources.
“Alaska's energy resources – onshore and offshore, conventional and renewable - hold great promise and economic opportunity for the people of Alaska and across the nation,” said Deputy Secretary Hayes. “We know that a ‘one-size-fits-all' approach doesn't work when it comes to Alaska, and we will continue to pursue a balanced approach to safely and responsibly developing Alaska's energy supplies.”
Hayes was in Anchorage as chair of a high-level federal interagency working group established in July by President Obama to coordinate energy development in Alaska. During the two-day trip, Hayes participated in a series of meetings with federal, state, local, and tribal leaders, as well as conservation and energy industry stakeholders.
Hayes announced that, in recognition of Alaska's significant renewable energy potential, the cross-agency team is working to spur not only balanced conventional energy development, but has also formed a task force to encourage the development of renewable energy resources, including wind, biomass and hydropower. A task force will also focus on improving delivery of renewable energy to rural Alaskan villages.
“Across the nation we are unlocking the potential of the wind and sun to power our homes and communities,” Hayes said. “Harnessing Alaska's abundant renewable energy sources would strengthen the state's energy economy and add a critical component to Alaska's growing energy portfolio. I look forward to working with our partners across the state to make renewable energy projects in Alaska a reality.”
The State of Alaska has signaled its commitment to facilitating renewable energy development with substantial investments in individual renewable energy projects, weatherization, and energy efficiency projects. Hayes noted that the federal government can play an important role in supporting those efforts and helping the State achieve its goal of deriving half its power from renewable energy sources by 2025.
Hayes also announced that, as part of President Obama's efforts to increase safe and responsible production of our domestic oil and gas resources, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will hold a lease sale on Dec. 7 for approximately 3 million acres - an area larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined - in the NPR-A. The lease sale, details of which are available in the Federal Register tomorrow, will offer 283 tracts and is coordinated with a State of Alaska sale, offering industry adjacent tracks in state and federally-managed areas.
Today's accelerated lease sale is a direct result of President Obama's announcement in May in which he directed Interior to conduct annual lease sales in the NPR-A.
The NPR-A is a 23-million-acre area on Alaska's North Slope, west of Prudhoe Bay. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the reserve and adjacent state waters contain 896 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered technically recoverable non-associated gas. This will be the seventh lease sale in the reserve since 1999.
In selecting tracts to offer, the BLM considered natural resource values, resource potential, industry interest and subsistence values. Performance based stipulations and required operating procedures will be used to mitigate resource impacts, while adapting to new information and changing conditions.