A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Salazar Meets with BP Officials and Engineers at Houston Command Center to Review Response Efforts, Activities
Office of the Secretary
HOUSTON, Texas -- Secretary Salazar met with BP officials and engineers at their Command Center in Houston today to review the company's continuing efforts to control the source of their oil spill, contain and attack the surface slick and assist Gulf Coast communities in protecting shorelines and natural resources.
“I met with BP leadership to receive their latest reports on efforts to capture the leak plume, attack the spill and protect Gulf Coast communities and their environment,” Salazar said. “As the Responsible Party, BP needs to maintain an all-out campaign on each of these priorities for as long as it takes. The President has made clear that BP will be held accountable and our job is to provide the oversight to ensure that the company is doing everything it can to meet its critical responsibilities.”
In a media availability after the meeting, Secretary Salazar announced that, as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, beginning April 20 – the date of the explosion – no applications for drilling permits will go forward for any new offshore drilling activity until the Department of the Interior completes the safety review process that President Obama requested. In accordance with the President's request, the Department will deliver its report to the President by May 28, 2010. The only exceptions to the new rule regarding permit approvals are the two relief wells that are being drilled in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
In addition, MMS Director Liz Birnbaum sent a letter today to Shell Oil Company President Marvin Odum confirming that MMS will not make a final decision on the requested permits for the drilling of exploration wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas until the Department of the Interior's report to the President has been submitted and evaluated.
Since the BP Oil Spill Salazar has pressed BP officials and engineers to work harder, faster, and smarter to cap the leaks and contain the spill and urged other offshore energy companies to bring their expertise, resources, and ideas to the response effort. “We want to make sure every available resource - industry and government - is being put to use to tackle this problem,” Salazar said.
Before flying to Houston, Salazar visited the Federal Government's Unified Command operations center in Mobile, Alabama Thursday morning. The previous day he had visited national wildlife refuges on the Louisiana and Alabama coast to assess on-the-ground efforts to protect sensitive areas; made an aerial survey of containment and cleanup efforts underway on Gulf waters; and inspected the four-story cofferdam that will attempt to capture the largest leak from the damaged wellhead.
Among the major initiatives Salazar has already undertaken to combat the spill, the Secretary
Ordered immediate inspections of all deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico;
Issued a safety notice to all operators, reminding them of their responsibilities to follow our regulations and to conduct full and thorough tests of their equipment;
Established the Outer Continental Shelf Safety Oversight Board within the Department of the Interior with top officials to strengthen Outer Continental Shelf safety and improve overall management, regulation, and oversight of OCS operations;
Launched a joint investigation of the incident with the U.S. Coast Guard to determine what happened and hold those responsible to account.