Beach Access and Park Issues
June 15, 2012

UPDATE: Senate bill to overturn ORV plan
will have committee hearing on June 27


A Senate bill to overturn the National Park’s Service’s plan and final rule for managing off-road vehicles on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore will have a hearing before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Wednesday, June 27, at 3 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The bill, S 2372, was introduced on April 26 by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. The title of the bill is the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act.

It would abolish the final ORV plan and rule and return the management of the seashore to the 2007 Interim Protected Species Management Plan until the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Director of the National Park Service devise a new ORV plan and final rule that meets the requirements set forth in the legislation.

The bill is identical to a bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives in February by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.

That legislation, HR4094 had a hearing before a house subcommittee and was favorably reported out of the House Committee on Natural Resources last week.  It will go to the House floor for consideration and possible passage next week.

The vote to report it out of committee in the Republican-controlled House was 24 to 18, split pretty much along party lines.  No Democrats voted to report the bill favorably.

The House will consider the bill next week as part of the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, a package of 14 Natural Resources Committee bills that will create new American jobs, grow the economy, protect the environment, and promote development of renewable hydropower. 

It has a good chance of passing in the house.

But the legislation has an uphill battle in the Senate, controlled by Democrats.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee is comprised of 13 Democrats and 11 Republicans. 

If the bill moves from the hearing to a vote in the committee and all members are present, it would need the support of at least two Democratic senators.

S 2372 will be considered along with 10 other National Park Service bills. They are:

  • S. 1897, a bill to amend Public Law 101-377 to revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station;
  • S. 2158, a bill to establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway National Heritage Area;
  • S. 2229, a bill to authorize the issuance of right-of-way permits for natural gas pipelines in Glacier National Park;
  • S. 2267, a bill to reauthorize the Hudson Valley National Heritage Area;
  • S. 2272, a bill to designate a mountain in the State of Alaska as Mount Denali;
  • S. 2273, a bill to designate the Talkeetna Ranger Station in Talkeetna, Alaska, as the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station;
  • S. 2286, a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate certain segments of the Farmington River and Salmon Brook in the State of Connecticut as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System;
  • S. 2316, a bill to designate the Salt Pond Visitor Center at the Cape Cod National Seashore as the "Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Salt Pond Visitor Center"
  • S. 2324, a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate a segment of the Neches River in the State of Texas for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic River System;
  • S. 3300, a bill to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington
The hearing will be webcast live on the committee's website, and an archived video will be available shortly after the hearing is complete. Witnesses’ testimony will be available on the website at the start of the hearing.
Witnesses who will give testimony have not been announced.


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