A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
STATEMENT OFSTEPHEN E. WHITESELL, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE CONCERNING S. 302, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ISSUE RIGHT-OF-WAY PERMITS FOR A NATURAL GAS TRANSMISSION PIPELINE IN NONWILDERNESS AREAS WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF DENALI NATIONAL PARK, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify and provide the views of the National Park Service (NPS) on S. 302, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue right-of-way permits for a natural gas transmission pipeline in nonwilderness areas within the boundary of Denali National Park, and for other purposes.
The Department has no objection to the bill as written.
The potential owners and operators of such a pipeline have not, at this time, determined whether such a line carrying natural gas to south-central Alaska is financially feasible, nor have they determined the best route for a pipeline. This legislation provides flexibility for the backers of a proposed pipeline, and provides assurance to the NPS that the National Environmental Policy Act analysis will be completed before any permit for work in the park would be issued by the Secretary.
The legislation also provides authority for the Secretary to permit distribution lines and related equipment within the park for the purpose of providing a natural gas supply to the park. We support this provision, but remind the committee that at this time no decisions have been made about the financial or engineering feasibility, nor the exact configuration of equipment needed to facilitate tapping the larger line to allow local use of natural gas in or near Denali National Park.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify and we would welcome any questions you or other members may have.