Judge Boyle schedules a status
on consent decree
district court Judge Terrence Boyle has scheduled a status conference
on Thursday, April 7, on the consent decree that settled a lawsuit
against the National Park Service over its lack of an off-road vehicle
management plan at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The conference will be at 2 p.m. at the Federal Building in Raleigh.
The lawsuit was filed in October, 2007, by the National Audubon Society
and Defenders of Wildlife, which were represented by the Southern
Environmental Law Center. Later Dare and Hyde counties and
Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance were allowed by Boyle as
defendant-intervenors in the case.
Boyle agreed to the consent decree, signed onto by all of the parties
to the lawsuit, on April 30, 2008.
The seashore has been managed under the terms of the consent decree
since 2008. This will be the fourth year of the consent
As part of the consent decree, the National Park Service must submit
resource management annual reports to all parties and the
court. Boyle has summoned the parties for a status conference
Boyle had a status conference on the 2009 annual reports
last year, and had another conference on the status of ORV rulemaking
on Dec. 2.
The Park Service issued its annual reports for 2010 at the end
January. They include last year’s nesting information on protected
species and an update on the park’s effort to put an off-road vehicle
management plan in place.
According to the terms of the consent decree, the National Park Service
was to have a final ORV rule in place by April 1.
However, at the December status conference, the U.S. attorney
representing the Park Service explained to the judge that the deadline
would not be met.
None of the parties involved voiced an objection to the missed deadline
at that time, and apparently the park will be managed under the terms
of the consent decree again this summer.
Park Service officials have said they hope to have a final rule in
place by the fall.