February 19, 2008


Environmental groups will seek injunction to stop beach driving
Breaking News

By IRENE NOLAN

The environmental groups that have sued the National Park Service over its interim protected species plan at Cape Hatteras National Seashore will ask a federal court judge on Wednesday, Feb. 20, for a temporary injunction to stop beach driving until the lawsuit is settled.

Environmental group seek injunction to stop beach driving

The environmental groups that have sued the National Park Service over its interim protected species plan at Cape Hatteras National Seashore will ask a federal court judge on Wednesday, Feb. 20, for a temporary injunction to stop beach driving until the lawsuit is settled.

Members of a negotiated rulemaking committee that is working on a long-range plan to regulate ORV use on the seashore got the news Tuesday afternoon in an e-mail from Patrick Field of the Consensus Building Institute, one of the facilitators working with a committee to negotiate a long-range ORV plan.

“The plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the interim plan and those members of the Committee let us know this afternoon, Tuesday, that they plan to file a request for a preliminary injunction with the District Court tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20th.

 “Once the document is filed with the court, they will provide a copy of that (request for a) preliminary injunction to us to forward to the Committee.”

The Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service on Oct. 18 in federal district court in Elizabeth City over its failure to adopt regulations to manage beach driving at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
 
 The suit claims that the interim protected species management plan under which the Park Service has been operating does not do enough to protect species of shorebirds and sea turtles that nest on the seashore.

The groups also filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue over violations of the Endangered Species Act in connection with the interim management plan.

The lawsuit contends that the interim plan, which is intended to protect the birds and turtles until a long-range plan is adopted, does not go far enough.

The National Park Service is currently involved in two concurrent processes to formulate a long-range plan for ORV use on the seashore beaches.

They are:

  • An ORV Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Plan/EIS will guide the management of ORV use at Cape Hatteras for the next 10 to 15 years and is required by the National Environmental Policy Act.   The first public scoping meetings were last year, and now the National Park Service has developed a list of preliminary options for ORV management. The Park Service hosted a series of public information meetings in January to answer questions about the options and will accepted public comment on the alternative options until Feb. 15.
  •  
  • A negotiated rulemaking advisory committee had its first meetings on Jan. 3 and 4 at the Avon Fire Hall.  This committee is appointed under federal law by the Secretary of the Interior to assist the Park Service in developing rules for operating ORVs on the seashore. The next meeting of the committee will be Feb. 26 and 27 in Kill Devil Hills.

You can find more information on the negotiated rulemaking committee and other efforts to develop an ORV plan in the Shooting the Breeze column at the top of the front page of this Web site.

Other relevant links on the Free Press site are:

http://islandfreepress.org/Archives/2007.11.05-ShootingTheBreezePlanningFutureOfBeachDriving.html

and

http://islandfreepress.org/Archives/2007.09.05-BeachDrivingCrisisAndHowWeGotHere.html


The Island Free Press will continue to post updates on the plan by the environmental groups to seek an injunction.


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