Spring is coming early in 3/4 of national parks, according to a new study. Awesome? Not so much. As flowers bloom earlier every year, it’s disrupting the link between the wildflowers and the arrival of birds, bees, and butterflies that feed on and pollinate the flowers. In Shenandoah, an earlier spring is giving invasive plants a head start, and they’re displacing native wildflowers, leading to costly management issues.
Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
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.
Department of the Interior Affirms 2008 Chukchi Sea Lease Sale
Record of Decision allows lifting suspensions on Chukchi Sea leases
Last edited 4/26/2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. — After thorough environmental analysis and substantial opportunity for public input, the Department of the Interior today issued a Record of Decision affirming Chukchi Sea OCS Oil and Gas Lease Sale 193 and the remaining oil and gas leases issued in 2008 as a result of the sale.
“The Arctic is an important component of the Administration's national energy strategy, and we remain committed to taking a thoughtful and balanced approach to oil and gas leasing and exploration offshore Alaska,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “This unique, sensitive and often challenging environment requires effective oversight to ensure all activities are conducted safely and responsibly.”
Upon issuance of the Record of Decision, BOEM may begin formal review of a company's exploration plan for the Chukchi Sea, which includes public engagement and additional environmental analyses. BOEM, BSEE and other Federal agencies will need to review and approve activities before any exploration activity can occur.
The original Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Lease Sale 193 was published in 2007 but subsequent legal challenges and Federal court decisions remanded the lease sale back to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for further analysis. The most recent court decision, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, specifically addressed BOEM's estimates of production levels from OCS oil fields that might be discovered in the Chukchi Sea.
In response to the court remand, BOEM conducted additional analysis using the best available data to estimate the highest amount of production that could reasonably result from Lease Sale 193 and incorporated that information into a Supplemental EIS (SEIS) that was published in February 2015. The Department issued today's decision after studying the information compiled in the SEIS and analyzing all comments received.
“Working closely with our partner agencies at the Federal, state and local levels, our analysts brought to bear the best science available to produce a careful and robust analysis,” said Janice Schneider, Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, who signed the Record of Decision.
Upon the Ninth Circuit court remand in January 2014, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement suspended all leases issued via Lease Sale 193. With today's decision these suspensions are lifted.
“I am very grateful for the work that BOEM professionals put into this extensive analysis, and for the input we received from our stakeholders throughout the entire process,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper.
In February, the Interior Department released proposed regulations to ensure that future exploratory drilling activities on the U.S. Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are done safely and responsibly, subject to strong and proven operational standards. Using a combination of performance-based and prescriptive standards, the proposed regulations codify and further develop current Arctic-specific operational standards that seek to ensure that operators take the necessary steps to plan through all phases of offshore exploration in the Arctic, including mobilization, drilling, maritime transport and emergency response, and conduct safe drilling operations while in theater.