Commissioner Judge challenges
groups to drop the lawsuit and negotiate
By IRENE NOLAN
second day of negotiated rulemaking meetings to devise a long-term plan
for driving off-road vehicles on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore,
Warren Judge, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners,
addressed the committee after the public comment session.
About 15 islanders made public comments over two days on March 18 and
19, and after each session the 30 members of the committee had an
opportunity to respond.
Judge took that opportunity and addressed his comments to his fellow
committee members Jason Rylander of Defenders of Wildlife, Walker
Golder of the National Audubon Society, and their attorney Derb Carter
of the Southern Environmental Law Center, all of whom are involved in a
lawsuit that over the legality of ORV access on the beaches and have
requested a temporary injunction to close popular beaches until the
lawsuit is settled.
Judge made it clear at the meeting and at a meeting of the Board of
Commissioners on March 17 that he does not think the issue of ORVs on
seashore beaches should be settled in the courts, but rather through
negotiations among stakeholder groups represented on the federally
“Derb, Jason, and Walker,” he said, “I
ask for these lawsuits to be withdrawn, so we can negotiate here in
The groups did not respond to his comments in public.
Dare and Hyde counties and the Cape Hatteras Preservation Alliance have
been allowed to intervene in the lawsuit by the environmental groups
against the National Park Service and other federal defendants over the
inadequacies in the Interim Plan that will govern ORV use and
protection of natural resources on seashore beaches until a long-term
plan is in place.
Judge also made comments about the beach access issues at the March 17
“It’s not about ORV groups,” he said at
that meeting. It’s about access to the
beaches…We need your help.