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).
Statement of Secretaries Salazar and Chu on the Permanent Plugging of Macondo well
Office of the Secretary
WASHINGTON, DC — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu today issued the following statement regarding the permanent plugging of BP's Macondo well.
“With the successful first intercept by the relief well and our confirmation through pressure tests that the cement plugs are secure, we can now declare BP's Macondo well effectively dead. At the direction of President Obama and under the leadership of National Incident Commander Thad Allen, we have worked tirelessly and relentlessly as a US Team to reach this point and to provide oversight and direction to the source control effort.”
“We are proud of our government team which played such a key role in ensuring the successful killing of the Macondo well, including USGS Director Marcia McNutt, former Sandia National Laboratories Director Tom Hunter, the many leading scientists from our National Labs, academia, and the private sector, along with the professionals of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, who have been working non-stop since April 20th. The best minds in the public and private sectors came together to ensure that science and sound regulatory oversight guided every step of the well control efforts, and that redundancies and safeguards were in place to protect against further damage to the environment or additional risks to human life.”
“Though our source control mission is complete, President Obama has made it clear the administration will not rest until all the oil is cleaned up and the Gulf Coast is restored.”
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEM) has confirmed that the cementing operation on the Macondo well was successful, that the well has been permanently sealed with cement plugs, and that pressure tests verify integrity of the plugs.
Oversight of the well now transitions from the National Incident Command to BOEM under a process laid out in the National Response Framework.
The Department of the Interior and BOEM will oversee the continuing decommissioning of the Macondo well and its associated relief wells.
The relief wells will be plugged and decommissioned accorded to the regulatory guidelines that require the setting of multiple cement plugs and testing of plugs. More information about those regulations can be found here: www.boemre.gov
Before proceeding with the decommissioning of the relief wells, BP will be required to submit to BOEM an Application for Permit to Modify (APM) for approval that outlines its procedures to permanently plug the relief well.