February 27, 2008

ORV meeting Tues 2/26

I decided to look in on the NPS negotiated rulemaking committee's meeting at the Ramada Plaza in KDH Tues. morning. It was fascinating. There was almost no substantive discussion in the first 3 hours. It probably started shortly after I left and even then I don't expect it was very substantive or the substance was important.
The most important news was that the National Park Service (NPS) rejected an offer from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau to give the NPS money to support an economic impact analysis of ORV activities in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS).
A little history. At the first meeting of the committee, the NPS and its consultant said they didn't have enought money to do a complete economic analysis. The OBVB stepped up and offered to help (I believe the offer was $20,000 but I'm not sure). NPS was considering this offer. A subcommittee formed to oversee the analysis had a teleconference. Environmental interestes attacked the offer as an effort to extort NPS. Words, harsh words were exchanged. Things cooled off, everyone apologized. Then the NPS decides not to accept the money, saying basically if it causes that big a problem we won't take it.
Why is this important? First off the committee needs the best data possible. The more money they have the better the analysis will be. If the analysis is incomplete or insufficiently broad it may be open to challenge, first by outside experts then in the courts. If it is not top notch it can't be relied on. Superintendent Murray assured the group that NPS would find the resources to do a proper analysis.
There is a more troubling aspect to this episode. Basically the environmental groups created a phony issue. There were no strings to the OBVB money it was a gift. The analysis would have been done by the same people with the same broad oversight by the committee. No chance of conflict of interest. By raising the false issue the environmental groups get a less effective analysis opposinging their interests. Really dirty pool and then to start the name calling just makes it stink.
My questions for Mike Murray:
  • Will NPS only use environmental data and analysis developed with NPS dollars. No citing outside reports, no use of existing bird counts done by other groups?
If we need independence in economic analysis then we need the same rules in environmental aanlaysis. Sounds fair to me. Don't expect that this will happen.

Enough for now. Some of you have short attention spans (grin) so I will add more in another post.

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At 4:56 PM, Blogger KYScoast said...

Nice work on following this Bob. I appreciate it and will be following along.


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