February 25, 2008

ORV suit - the sequel Part II

There will be a lot written about the Southern Environmental Law Center's (SELC) request for a federal court to step in and replace the National Park Service' (NPS) beach driving rules with a plan drafted by the SELC. I have already picked the SELC to prevail at least at the injunction level. The Va. Pilot ran a piece Sudnay on Dare county's response to the initial lawsuit filed last year. The Pilot piece makes it sound liek a response to the request for an immediate injunction, which it is not. Dare County, Hyde County and a consortium of ORV groups have hired a DC law firm to represent their interests. This typifies the response:
"'This motion to shut down access to a large portion of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the recreational fishermen is unfounded,' Lawrence Liebesman, an attorney with Washington firm Holland & Knight, said in a prepared statement.
Liebesman, who is representing Dare and Hyde counties and a coalition of beach-access groups, said in the statement that the court lacks jurisdiction to intervene in the National Park Service's management of the beach."
You can read more of the Dare response on the county web site. If the best they can come up with is that the court doesn't have jurisdiction in a lawsuit they are going to have problems. The current SELC motion seeks to protect their interests in a lawsuit filed in Sept. That suit has been proceeding slowly through the courts and my guess is that the court has every right to take the action requested. Though when you realize that Dare County et. al is just now responding to a suit file in Sept. you understand how long the process may take and why the SELC has a concern about impacts on wildlife while the case drags on in the courts.
The statements about bird counts do contradict what the SELC maintains but they seem pretty weak.
That report also did not find any direct evidence that vehicles actually caused the deaths of any of this species and other causes such as predation and unleashed dogs were likely responsible.
I suspect the court may appreciate that direct kills may not be the only way to look at ORV impact on nesting.
Warren Judge makes the point that the seashore has to be open to the public but the issue simply won't be decided on that basis alone.
Monticello at Outer Banks Republic has started a series of pieces looking at the orv Issue. In his first piece he discusses the SELC and their propaganda. It pretty clear Monty believes the SELC and its partners have a much larger agenda than their suit initially reveals. I happen to agree with him. I think they will succeed with their request for an injunction but I am not particularly happy about where it may lead. The second of the OBR pieces looks at the briefs filed by the SELC and takes some exception to their "facts". I don't take a lot of exception to Monty's position that the Environmental groups have a much broader agenda than they admit. I do think he (Monty AKA: Monty, hereinafter known as Monty) does go a little far in criticizing the use of the term moderate when discussing the SELC plan. The term moderate comes from the amount of protection it provides (as determined by the USGS) not the impact on human activity.
See also Sat. Coastland Times for an accurate protrayal of the situation
The groups meet on Tues and Wed. at the at the Ramada Plaza in KDH starting at 8:30. Public comment on some specific topics at noon each day. The injunction is not on the agenda but it might just come up, what d' ya think?
More later,
Ciao

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1 Comments:

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Monticello said...

Nice post. I enjoy debate where respect is central, although we sound more like Hillary & Obama than either of them and McCain!

 

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