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.
The Office of Policy Analysis (PPA) is responsible for economic and policy analysis and, on request, provides program coordination within the Department of the Interior on specific issues related to Interior's responsibilities. A substantial part of the work of PPA requires analysis of the economic effects of natural resource policies and regulations, and the relationship between the economy, environment, natural resource use, and management – especially on issues that cross Interior bureau lines of responsibility and have interagency or intergovernmental implications.
Economics in the Office of Policy Analysis The mission of the economics team is to provide high-quality, objective, qualitative and quantitative advice, review, analysis, writing, and presentations in a timely manner. Our efforts are often conducted in multi-disciplinary settings and encompass the breadth of Interior's portfolio.
PPA's team of six economists and one Operations Research specialist brings a wealth of experience and education to help Interior address a full range of complex policy and economic issues related to natural resources, energy, and the environment. The economics team provides leadership and routinely works jointly with economists in Interior's bureaus, as well as with other Federal agencies. Additional information about the PPA economics team is available here.
The economics team also has expertise in survey research and coordinates the Department's implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act. This responsibility provides a broad overview of the Department's data collection activities and an opportunity to link data collection to Interior's land management responsibilities.
Extensive and Varied Work Experience The PPA economics team collectively has over 50 years of experience spanning five different administrations, with specialized training in natural resource and environmental economics, economic modeling, benefit-cost analysis, econometrics, policy analysis, business, political science, and international affairs. PPA economists provide a wide range of perspectives developed through experience with an array of federal, private, academic, and international settings, including:
Interior's Office of Budget;
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS);
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA);
U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS);
U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA);
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO);
Private consulting (primarily for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency);
Academia (George Washington University, Dickinson College, Colorado State University, University of Massachusetts);
Non-governmental Organizations (Resources for the Future, International Food Policy Research Institute); and
New Zealand Treasury.
Depth and Breadth of Projects The PPA economics team has addressed a multitude of complex and pressing policy issues, many of a cross-cutting and multi-stakeholder nature. The issue areas that the team has provided analytic support on range from evaluating the use of markets and incentives to facilitate conservation, to analyses of water banking and water transfers, to helping evolve the economic models on groundwater valuation, resource equivalency analysis, ecosystem services valuation for decision-making, and the development of metrics for habitat equivalency analysis. Some specific examples include:
Led the preparation of the first ever report analyzing the economic impacts of Interior's activities and programs. The Office completed the third follow-up report in July 2012.
Co-chairing, with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the group undertaking economic studies to support the Secretarial Determination on removing four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River.
Analyzed the effects of the presence of public lands on the economic growth of rural economies.
Prepared and/or commented on numerous regulatory impact analyses, including: Bureau of Land Management (BLM) hydraulic fracturing (fracking) regulations; Bureau of Indian Affairs land leasing regulations; various Office of Surface Mining regulations; BLM hard rock mining regulations; offshore oil and gas drilling safety regulations; regulations related to the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); and Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) Hazardous Substances (43 CFR Part 11).
Evaluated the extent to which FWS conservation banking activities could be strengthened.
Reviewed and analyzed the royalty regime for a variety of resources including oil shale and renewables such as solar and wind.
Led an evaluation of BLM's implementation of the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
Prepared a white paper on Native American economic development.
Supports the economic policy development of the DOI Restoration Program and worked on over 150 damage assessment cases across the country, including the development of settlement claims for lost cultural uses, diminished recreational uses, injured species, and injured supporting habitats.
Led an evaluation of the Bureau of Reclamation's title transfer program.
Worked with FWS economists on estimating the value of ecosystem services provided by National Wildlife Refuges. This report is available here.