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.
Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am Larry Todd, Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Administration and Budget with the Bureau of Reclamation. I am pleased to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 609, concerning the Central Texas Water Recycling and Reuse Project in the State of Texas. The Department cannot support H.R. 609.
H.R. 609 would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act (Public Law 102-575), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior, in cooperation with the City of Waco and other participating communities, to participate in the design, planning, and construction of permanent facilities to reclaim and reuse water in McLennan County, Texas. It also provides for Federal funding of 25 percent of the total project cost.
Mr. Chairman, the Department supports efforts to increase local water supplies and increase recycled water use. However, given the costs of the currently active Title XVI projects, we cannot support the authorization of new projects at this time. Of the 32 specific Title XVI projects authorized to date, 21 have received funding. The remaining estimated total authorized Federal cost share of these 21 active Title XVI projects is at least $328 million.
In addition, the Administration does not support construction authorizations when a Feasibility Report has not been completed. These reports ensure that proposed projects are cost-effective, meet environmental compliance requirements, and are consistent with the overall objectives of the Title XVI program. Reclamation recently met with the local sponsor to discuss Federal funding under the Title XVI program, as well as appraisal and feasibility report requirements. Receipt of these reports would enable Reclamation to comment on the merits and determine the project's qualification for consideration of Federal funding.
While Reclamation cannot currently support new water recycling project authorizations, we understand that the projects established by Title XVI are important to many water users in the West. To that end, Reclamation is in the process of improving its Directives and Standards that govern reviews of Title XVI projects. By doing so, we believe that Reclamation can work more closely with local sponsors in weighing the merits and ultimate feasibility of proposed water recycling projects.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on H.R. 609. This concludes my statement and I would be happy to answer any questions.