S. 486 Passes Senate Energy and Natural Resources Vote

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June 19, 2013 5:19 PM

BLUERIBBON COALITION PARTNER ALERT FOLLOW-UP!

S. 486 Passes Senate Energy and Natural Resources Vote

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

We've sent out a number of alerts recently about the very important bills passing through the Senate and the House regarding Cape Hatteras: H.R. 819, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act on the House side (see the alert here) and more recent alert regarding S. 486, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act on the Senate side (see the alert here).

OBPA now has some good news coming out regarding S. 486 that we wanted to share with you. We've pasted OBPA's Action Alert below. Please take a minute to read the alert, and then pass it along to friends, family and riding buddies.

We'll all need to pay careful attention to how these bills progress from here, and we'll pass it your way as we get it.

As always, call or email if you have any questions or comments.

Ric Foster
Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 107


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6/19/2013

S. 486 Passes Senate Energy and Natural Resources Vote

I am happy to report to you that on June 18, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed S 486 "Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act."

We are indebted  to North Carolina Senators' Richard Burr and Kay Hagan for the leadership they have shown by first introducing the original bill S 486 and then by the enormous effort they and their staffs have put forward to arrive at a compromise that was supported by the full committee yesterday. The Senators understand the access issues for those who live, work and visit the CHNSRA.  The Senators have fought for and are continuing to fight for a solution to these issues that will provide a proper balance between resource protection and recreational use  at the nation's first National Seashore Recreational Area.

As I indicated in my letter on June 15, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at the request of Chairman Ron Wyden deferred consideration of S. 486 at the May 16 meeting. Chairman Wyden referred to strong opposition from the National Park Service as the reason for removing the bill from the May markup. He stated that committee members would attempt to craft a compromise in "a bi-partisan and good faith effort to find a solution to this matter at Cape Hatteras."  He also promised that the bill would be considered in the committee's June markup meeting.

We appreciate the leadership Chairman Wyden and ranking member Murkowski showed by initiating a bi-partisan process to reach a compromise that could be supported by the committee.  We also appreciate the continuing support of this legislation by Senator Joe Manchin  - West Virginia and Senator  Mary Landrieu - Louisiana.  

The bill that was passed out of committee on Tuesday does not accomplish everything for which we hoped in the original legislation.  However, we believe it is an important step in the right direction to restore and preserve visitor access to the beaches within CHNSRA.

We are now hopeful that the bill will soon be scheduled for  debate and vote on the full Senate floor.

You may read the text of the new bill at this link: "Copy of Amendment to S 486 approved by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee"

A copy of Senator Burr's and Senator Hagan's joint press release follows.


Senators Burr, Hagan Applaud Committee Passage of Cape Hatteras Off-Road Vehicle Bill

Today, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) applauded the passage of S. 486, the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

"Today's compromise was a critical step forward in the effort to regain access to one of North Carolina's most scenic treasures," said Senator Burr.  "Our work finally gives a voice to the people of North Carolina and all those who come to see its coast while still balancing the needs of the area's wildlife and addressing any potential environmental concerns.  I appreciate the support of Chairman Wyden and the input from the people of Dare County in achieving this balance, and I am confident we have reached an agreement that can pass the full Senate and become law."

"This compromise represents a responsible step toward restoring balance between beach access and important environmental protections," said Senator Hagan. "Cape Hatteras National Seashore is critical to Dare County's economy, and I will continue to work with Senator Burr and members on both sides of the aisle to expedite passage of this bill into law."

"This is a giant step in the right direction for a practical solution that balances reasonable recreational access with resource protection," said Warren Judge, Chairman of the Dare County Commissioners.  "The residents and visitors of Dare County have worked long and hard with their elected officials to champion this cause.  We are grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Senator Burr and Senator Hagan for never giving up on something they knew to be right for the people who depend upon access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area."

If enacted, this bill would set rules and parameters for the National Park Service to abide by when considering limiting access to beaches.  These parameters direct the NPS to minimize buffers on protected areas and keep them in place for the shortest possible duration necessary, designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around areas that are closed, coordinate with the State of North Carolina when establishing certain buffers, and allow for a public process when considering limiting access in special situations.  The bill also directs the NPS to construct vehicle access points and roads as expeditiously as possible and report its progress to Congress within one year of the act becoming law.

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We will keep you informed as events unfold in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you.

John Couch
President, OBPA

 


The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
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