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.
Secretary Salazar and Director Pizarchik Announce $485 Million in Grants to States and Tribes to Clean Up Abandoned Coal Mines
Last edited 7/7/2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) Director Joe Pizarchik today announced nearly half a billion dollars in grants for states and tribes to eliminate health and safety hazards caused by past coal mining. This year's funding – a $90 million increase over last year – will generate more than $1 billion in economic activity and support thousands of jobs across the country.
Funding for Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grants comes from coal receipts and is distributed through a congressionally mandated formula under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Fiscal year 2012 grants will total more than $485 million, the highest amount ever awarded.
“When our nation enacted mining reform in 1977, we made a simple and bold promise that the revenues from coal extraction today should help clean up the legacy of coal mining many years ago,” said Secretary Salazar. “These grants help fulfill that promise while putting men and women to work across the country on restoration projects that will bring lands back to life, clean up rivers, and leave a better legacy for our children and grandchildren.”
A recently issued Interior report estimated that the $369 million in AML grants made available for fiscal year 2010 delivered an economic impact of $1.1 billion dollars and was directly responsible for more than 8,600 jobs. With an increase of $90 million over fiscal year 2011 funding levels, the economic impact of the $485 million in grants announced today is expected to exceed that of last year's funding.
“OSM's AML grants announced today will have a significant impact on the health, safety and economic growth of communities across the country,” said OSM Director Joe Pizarchik. “With this and previous funding, our state and tribal AML partners will continue to produce a cleaner environment, well-paying jobs, and stronger local economies.”
Among the leading state recipients of 2012 AML grants are Wyoming ($150 million); Pennsylvania ($67.2 million); West Virginia ($66.5 million); Kentucky ($47 million); and Illinois ($24 million). Indian tribal governments receiving the grants include the Navajo Nation ($7.2 million); Crow Tribe ($2.2. million); and Hopi Tribe ($1.4 million).
OSM provides grants to 28 coal-producing states and tribes based on their past and present coal production. The bureau will make these awards throughout the current fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2012. The $485 million available in fiscal year 2012 caps a four-year phase-in of increased funding mandated by Congress when it amended SMCRA in 2006.
Since 1977, OSM has provided more than $7.2 billion to reclaim more than 295,000 acres of hazardous high-priority abandoned mine sites and for other purposes.