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.
Statement of Secretaries Salazar and Chu on the Permanent Plugging of Macondo well
Office of the Secretary
Last edited 4/25/2016
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.