April 12, 2008

ORV - We May Find out if Derb Carter Won Part 9*9

Thanks to Monty at OBR for the news. It appears my previous post was either misinformed or prmature. Now the Va. Pilot and the Island Free Press report a settlement has been reached. There is a statement at the SELC web site announcing the settlement and saying how happy Derb Carter is (why not he won). Dare County's web site has a statement the talks have failed. From the Va. Pilot report:
"Both sides in a legal battle that threatened to close six prime areas on Hatteras Island to off-road vehicles have reached an agreement in principle to settle the case.
A statement today from the environmental groups that filed suit challenging the management of driving along the beaches of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore did not provide details of the agreement.

But it said the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Park Service would file a joint motion in U.S. District Court to continue the case until April 16.That would allow the defendant-intervenors, essentially a third party in the case, to vote on the agreement. They are the Dare County Board of Commissioners, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners and the board of the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance. "
Not sure when we will learn what it says. Best guess is to watch the ORV meesage boards and the IFP for the news. They seem to have the best info. The SELC release quotes Dare lawyers Outten and Leiberman as being "pleased", and more:

Statement from Bobby Outten and Larry Liebesman, attorneys for Defendant-Intervenors: "Bobby Outten, Dare County Attorney and Larry Liebesman , Holland and Knight LLP , outside counsel for Defendant-Intervenors, are very pleased that the parties have reached agreement in principle and will recommend to intervenors that the settlement be approved as soon as possible next week. John Couch, President of the Outer Banks Preservation Association has indicated that he will recommend approval of the settlement to his Board as soon a possible.[emphasis added]"

Mike Murray, Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore: “This is the best of all possible outcomes. I am very pleased all parties have reached an agreement in principle.”

This has to be good news. Dare, Hyde etc must have gotten some concessions or they would have just let the judge order the closure. Bobby Outten is pretty close lipped. If he is quoted as recommending the settlement then it must be something that the county can support. He would not put his board in that position with some signals from the elected leaders that they can live with the outcome. What that outcome is I have no idea and if there is any truth in the OB Sentinel report that the SELC and its partners renigged on an initial offer, as they renigged on not sueing during Reg Neg, (sorry I just had to write that little tongue twister) it may be pretty restrictive. Pure speculation on my part says that DC and Hyde would not agree to any plan that cut off ALL access to any popular area, though they might agree to some numeric limits. We should know soon.
Thanks for your time, sorry for reporting prematurely.

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