February 27, 2008

ORV Coastland Times article.

Thank you Mary Helen. Through the kindness of the reporter you can read the entire text of the Coastland Times article explaining the ORV legal battles, Who filed when when and it the puzzle fits to together. As I noted earlier not everyone get this right. Mary Helen did.
The hearing on the preliminary injunction is now scheduled for April 3rd. No word yet on when briefs will be filed or more importantly when the case will be decided.

The Coastland Times,

Lawyers in beach driving case meet in federal court

By Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy

February 24, 2008, p. 1

On Friday (2/22) afternoon, litigating attorneys were meeting in U.S. District Court in Raleigh to set a schedule to brief and argue about a request for preliminary injunction to suspend beach driving in five locations in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

A status review of cases assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle brought three sets of attorneys to Raleigh, attorneys for plaintiffs Defenders of Wildlife and National Audubon Society, defendants National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife and intervenors Dare and Hyde counties and the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the plaintiffs through their attorney Southern Environmental Law Center, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction.

The motion for preliminary injunction takes issue with the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Interim Protected Species Management Strategy. The strategy was put in place while a special rule about beach driving is negotiated and an environmental impact statement is prepared. This process is estimated to take three years.

The plaintiffs argue that to maintain the existence of viable populations of Piping Plovers, colonially nesting birds and American Oystercatchers, while negotiations are on-going, beach driving should be managed under protocols recommended in 2005 by the United States Geological Survey.

Those protocols call for no beach driving at five locations: Bodie Island spit, Cape Point-South Beach, both sides of Hatteras Inlet and south Ocracoke spit. The injunction does not request any prohibition against beach walking.

In a prepared statement issued by Dare County, intervenor attorney Lawrence Liebesman says ``this motion to shut down access to a large portion of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the recreational fishermen is unfounded.’’

Leibesman asserts that the environmental groups cannot ``have it both ways’’ by asking the court to intervene and ``police’’ the Park Service’s management of the seashore while at the same time sitting at the negotiation table. Liebesman is a Washington, D.C. attorney with the firm of Holland & Knight, L.L.P.

The memorandum in support of the plaintiff’s injunction motion is accompanied by 11 affidavits and 14 documents.

The affidavits fall roughly into two groups. One group attests to the standing of plaintiffs in the legal action. Affidavits are presented by Noah Matson, vice president for Land Conservation with Defenders of Wildlife, Christopher Canfield, executive director of Audubon North Carolina, Walker Golder, deputy director of Audubon North Carolina, who also addresses the decline of species along seashore beaches, and Patricia Moore.

The plaintiffs have lined up affidavits from six scientists: J. Peter Doherty, who conducted a wintering Piping Plover study at Bodie Island spit; Jonathan Cohen, research scientist at Virginia Tech who prepared the U.S. Geological Survey protocols under contract; Francesca Guthbert, professor at University of Minnesota and a member of the Piping Plover recovery committee; Conor McGowan, a doctoral candidate at University of Missouri who monitored American Oystercatchers for three years in the seashore; Scott Melvin, senior zoologist at the Massachusetts division of fish and wildlife; and Erica Nol, professor of biology at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario.

An interesting affidavit from Steve Harrison, former chief of resources at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and now retired, details the seashore’s internal decision-making process for protecting endangered species during his tenure as chief, from May 1997 to October 2005.

Plaintiffs Defenders of Wildlife and National Audubon Society filed their initial complaint on Oct. 18, 2007, accompanied by a required 60-day notice.

Dare and Hyde counties and the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance filed a request to intervene which was granted on Dec. 14.

Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on Dec. 19.

In an action unrelated to the injunction filing, on Thursday, Feb. 21, intervenors filed a motion to dismiss three of six plaintiff claims made in the Amended Complaint. The motion, filed in response to the amended complaint, was accompanied by a supporting memorandum.

The intervenors argue that two executive orders addressing special rules for off-road driving do not grant third party enforcement rights and that the plaintiffs’ ``broad-based programmatic challenges’’ to the park service’s management policies do not state a claim under the Administrative Procedures Act, one of the federal laws relied on by plaintiffs.

In Dare County’s press release, Dare board of commissioners chairman Warren Judge states ``beach driving is an essential part of our heritage and an important aspect of our local economy, and Dare County is committed to doing everything possible to ensure this access to our beaches.’’


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At 1:56 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Great job by Mary Helen, overlooked as probably the best Hatteras journalist ever.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Fish Tales said...

these people are morons if they want to fight preservation, our seashore is the most valuable possession we have, i don't think the beach should be a highway with dirty oily leaky oversized gas sucking suv's, with trash falling out of them, people just aren't responsible enough about there trash being left behind, it's a windy cape and stuff blows around pretty easily, i have been here all my life and the banks are definitely taking a turn for the worst when it comes to our coastal ecosystem, back in the 80's it was a different story when it comes to beach driving, it was way less harmful with just a few cars on the beach, now it's zoo out full of drunk moron's, the environment is the single most important issue we face and should be taken care of responsibly, money isn't god so it shouldn't rule lives! nature bats lats and swings a home run cause we will never succeed in the long, so long old banks hello new dirty polluted banks, sounds like fun recreating in car chemicals so my kids can develope cancer and die at 25


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