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.
H.R. 976, Termination of Hydropower Reservations Relating to Specific BLM Patents in California
December 2, 2011
Thank you for the opportunity to present this Statement for the Record on H.R. 976, which would terminate hydropower reservations on two patents issued by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for certain lands in Madera County, California.While the BLM has no objection to this bill, its role in this matter – to issue patents as authorized by law – is strictly ministerial.Accordingly, the BLM defers to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the termination of the reservations encumbering the patented lands.
Under the Federal Water Power Act of 1920 (FPA), the filing of an application for hydroelectric power development automatically withdraws lands from entry, location, or disposal under the public land laws.If FERC decides that the power development value of the withdrawn lands will not be injured or destroyed by location, entry, or selection under the public land laws and notifies the Secretary of that determination, Section 24 of FPA requires that the Secretary open the lands to location, entry, or selection, subject to a reservation to the United States of the right to use the lands in the future for power development.
In 1920 and 1924, lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service in Madera County, California, were withdrawn for the Federal Power Commission's Power Project 105 on behalf of Southern California Edison Company.In 1983, the BLM issued a patent (04-83-0065) with a Section 24 power reservation for 103 acres within the Power Project 105 withdrawal area.By letter dated April 30, 1986, FERC determined that this power project site withdrawal was "non-essential" and formally vacated the withdrawal.Subsequently, the BLM reopened the formerly withdrawn federal lands to the operation of the public land and mining laws.An additional 41 acres of the previously withdrawn lands were conveyed in 1987 under patent 04-87-0050.
In 2006, Donald Smith requested that the BLM take administrative action to terminate the Section 24 power reservation from patent 04-83-0065. The BLM understands that the interested entities—FERC, the local utility Southern California Edison, and the U.S. Forest Service—do not object to termination of the Section 24 power reservation encumbering the patented lands.The Department of the Interior does not have the authority to remove the Section 24 power reservation from the patent; rather, this may only be accomplished through an Act of Congress.
H.R. 976 terminates the Section 24 power reservation included in patent 04-83-0065 for the parcels of public land conveyed in 1983.The legislation also terminates any Section 24 power reservation that may have been deemed to be omitted from patent 04-87-0050 for the parcels of public land conveyed in 1987. Enactment of H.R. 976 would provide Mr. Smith with clear title to these lands.
Thank you again for the opportunity to present this Statement for the Record on H.R. 976.