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.
Readout of Secretary Salazar, Deputy Secretary Hayes and BSEE Director Watson's Participation in the Ministerial Forum on Offshore Energy Safety in Norway
Office of the Secretary
TRONDHEIM, NORWAY – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined senior foreign government officials and oil and gas industry leaders in a Ministerial Forum on Offshore Energy Safety in Trondheim, Norway, to continue an ongoing global dialogue about safe and environmentally responsible offshore drilling.
This dialogue will inform the Obama administration's efforts to expand development of America's offshore energy resources, including exploration in the Alaskan Arctic, while ensuring the strongest possible safety and environmental oversight of offshore oil and gas activities on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
Secretary Salazar was joined in Norway by a U.S. delegation including Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Director James A. Watson.
In response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration undertook the most aggressive and comprehensive reforms to offshore oil and gas regulation and oversight in U.S. history. As part of a commitment to reduce the risks associated with offshore drilling around the world, Secretary Salazar outlined these historic reforms and shared best practices and lessons learned in offshore oil and gas development, including in the Arctic, during meetings this week with ministers and senior government officials from nations engaged in offshore oil and gas operations.
The forum was hosted by Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Ola Borten Moe and included senior representatives from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and the European Union.
In addition to today's Ministerial Forum focused on offshore safety, Secretary Salazar's visit to Norway included a visit to an offshore oil production facility and a roundtable discussion on sustainable Arctic energy development with senior government and industry officials.
Remarks made by Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes at yesterday's Arctic roundtable are available HERE.
As part of a shared commitment to reduce the risks associated with offshore drilling around the world, forum participants emphasized the need to establish a means of sharing data on incidents, including near-misses, as expeditiously as possible to maximize the opportunity to benefit from lessons learned and in order to identify and react effectively to industry-wide risks.
The participants in the forum affirmed the importance of a Ministerial-level dialogue and committed to meet again in 2013. This commitment was formalized in a joint statement signed by Secretary Salazar and Minster Broten Moe, as prior and current hosts of the forum, available HERE.
Today's forum builds on last year's Ministerial Forum on Offshore Drilling Containment, hosted by Secretary Salazar in Washington, D.C., which included discussions on well containment and lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.