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.
Good morning Madam Chairwoman and members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to be here today to present the views of the Administration on H.R. 155, the "Lower Brule and Crow Creek Tribal Compensation Act." For the reasons I will discuss today, the Administration does not support this bill.
H.R. 155, if enacted, would increase the compensation for the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Tribes for their loss of lands and cultural resources as a result of the Pick-Sloan Project. The intent of the legislation is to put the compensation provided to the Lower Brule and Crow Creek tribes (Tribes) on par with the compensation provided to similarly situated tribes in the region that received compensation for losses resulting from the Pick-Sloan water project along the Missouri River. The Lower Brule and Crow Creek Tribes received compensation for these losses under legislation enacted in 1996 and 1997 discussed later in this testimony. Without further analysis, it is not clear why the compensation already provided should not be considered adequate. However, we will be happy to work with the sponsor of the bill and the Tribes to determine if in fact there was an inequitable calculation regarding the original size of the trust funds that have been established.
The original statutes providing compensation for these two Tribes were the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Infrastructure Development Trust Fund Act (Public Law 105-132), and the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Infrastructure Development Trust Fund Act (Public Law 104-223). Pursuant to these bills, two funds, the Crow Creek Fund and the Lower Brule Fund, were created in the U.S. Treasury. The interest from these funds is used to compensate the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Sioux tribes for damages to their reservations and economies as a result of water infrastructure development. The original authorized sizes for the Lower Brule Fund and the Crow Creek Fund were $39,300,000 and $27,500,000, respectively. Enactment of H.R. 155 would increase the maximum size of each fund, with additional deposits to be derived from the sale of electric power from the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin program. If this bill is enacted, the size of the Lower Brule Fund and the Crow Creek Fund would be increased to $129,822,085 and $69,222,084, respectively.
When the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scored a similar bill, S. 374, in 2006, it estimated that there would be an increase in direct spending of $169 million over a ten year period if the bill had been enacted. This direct spending would result from the increase in the size of the funds provided for under this legislation and also the likely reclassification of the funds from budgetary to non-budgetary because the bill would extinguish any future claims by the Tribes against the federal government related to the Pick-Sloan Missouri River Basin Program upon full funding of the trust funds.
This concludes my testimony. I will be happy to respond to any questions you may have.