Mercury's surface in "enhanced color," a color scheme created to emphasize color differences. This is not what Mercury would look like to the human eye, but by applying mathematical analysis to images, color differences can be accentuated beyond those visible to a person.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
S. 205 and H.R. 865, the Copper Valley Native Allotment Resolution Act
May 3, 2007
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on
S. 205 and H.R. 865, the “Copper Valley Native Allotment Resolution Act of 2007.” The Department supports the goals of this legislation, which would grant rights-of-way for electric transmission lines over certain Alaska Native allotments but, as discussed in more detail below, we do have some concerns with the bills.
The issues related to this bill are described in detail in a September 2004 Government Accountability Report titled “Alaska Native Allotments: Conflicts with Utility Rights-of-Way Have Not Been Resolved Through Existing Remedies” (GAO-04-923). As noted in the GAO Report, the Department and the State of Alaska have granted rights-of-way for a variety of uses, including electrical transmission lines, and some of these rights-of-way cross Alaska Native allotments, giving rise to conflicts between Alaska Natives and holders of rights-of-way. One such holder is Copper Valley, a rural nonprofit electric cooperative which provides electricity to about 4,000 members in Alaska's Valdez and Copper River Basin areas. According to the Report, as early as 1958, Copper Valley obtained rights-of-way permits from Interior, and later from the State of Alaska, to construct and maintain electric lines. However, in some instances it has been determined (either by the Department or the Alaska Realty Consortium, which provides realty services for over 160 Native allotments in south-central Alaska) that Copper Valley is trespassing or allegedly trespassing across Alaska Native allotments.
Since the late 1980s, the Department has applied the “relation back” doctrine when addressing disputes between Alaska Native allotments and rights-of-way holders. Under that doctrine, the rights of Alaska Native allottees relate back to when each first started using the land, not when the allotment was filed or granted. Prior to that time, Alaska Native allotments generally were subject to rights-of-way existing at the time the allotment was approved. Federal courts have dismissed legal challenges to Interior's use of the relation back doctrine because of sovereign immunity.
The GAO identified 14 specific allotments where Copper Valley's rights-of-way conflict with Native Allottee ownership. S. 205 and H.R. 865 would resolve the dispute by granting to Copper Valley a right-of-way over the specific allotments listed in the bill. In exchange for the rights-of-way granted across each of the properties, owners of the listed allotments would each be compensated based on the results of an appraisal conforming with the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions, plus interest, using the date of enactment of this legislation as the date of valuation. We have not yet conducted any appraisals, but we do not expect these costs to be significant. Senate bill 205 provides that compensation would be paid from the Judgment Fund (31 U.S.C. 1304); the House bill is silent on this issue.
As noted above, the Department supports the resolution of this matter, and we appreciate changes made to the bills prior to their introduction this year. However, we do have some concerns with the legislation. As an initial matter, we have a concern in S. 205 regarding whether this is an appropriate use of the Judgment Fund. Alternatively, we note that H.R. 865, which has passed the House, does not identify a source for compensation payments. In the absence of a named source, we presume that any compensation awarded under this legislation would be taken from programmatic funding.
Additionally,we strongly recommend that the legislation contain language ensuring that the allottees are provided compensation for the past occupancy of the rights-of-way. We think this is an important issue and one that should be addressed to ensure that the allottees are fully compensated. We look forward to working with you on this matter.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to present this testimony. I will be pleased to answer any questions you and other Members of the Committee may have.