February 6, 2014

UPDATE: U.S. House passes
Jones bill to overturn ORV plan


The U.S. House of Representatives today voted to pass HR 2954, a package of bills called the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act that includes U.S. Rep. Walter Jones’ proposal to overturn the Park Service’s ORV plan on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The vote was 220-194 along party lines in the Republican-controlled House. Six Republicans voted against the bill, and six Democrats voted in favor.

Today, speaking on the House floor, Jones said that the ORV plan and final rules puts “excessive restrictions on public access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which he said has damaged the economy in the area.

He urged a return to the Park Service’s 2007 The Interim Management Strategy that was supported by a 113-page Biological Opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which found that it would not jeopardize piping plover, sea turtles, or other species of concern.

“The last thing we need in Eastern North Carolina is unnecessary government regulation stifling job creation and economic growth,” said Congressman Jones in a news release after the vote.  “I am grateful to my colleagues in the House for voting to approve this common-sense measure, which strikes the appropriate balance between protecting the species that live in the Cape Hatteras area and protecting the taxpayers’ right to access the recreational areas that they own.  Now it is time for the Senate to act.”  

This is the second time that the House has approved Congressman Jones’ Cape Hatteras access proposal.  It first passed the House in 2012 as part of H.R. 2578, but the Senate took no action on that bill. 

In this Congress, a Senate committee has favorably reported an amended version the bill, but no floor vote has been scheduled.

The bill is likely to have much more opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Also, the Obama administration has issued a statement that it opposes the package of measures passed today in the House.


Click here to read HR 2954.
Click here to read the amended version of S 486.

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