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June 18, 2013 - 4:17 PM

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.
 

S. 486 / H.R. 819 Status Report / Request for Help:

6/15/2013

On May 12 and 13 I advised you of the House Natural Resources Committee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meetings scheduled for May 15 and 16 respectfully.  I asked you to contact the Congressmen and Senators who are members of those committees to urge their support for markup of these bills to the full House and full Senate for consideration.

Thanks to your action, and the action of the congressmen on the House committee, H.R. 819, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act was approved for markup to the full House.  We expect that the floor debate and vote will be scheduled in the near future.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, at the request of Chairman Ron Wyden deferred consideration of S. 486 Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act 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.

The June markup meeting for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled for June 18.  While we understand that the Committee staff has been working on a solution, we do not know if anything new will be presented at the June 18 business meeting.

Once again, I ask for your help.

URGENT ACTION NEEDED ASAP

Just as I asked you in May, I ask that you contact the Senate committee and its members to urge their support for S 486 at that hearing.  I also ask that you contact those Senators that have already shown their support for this legislation. Senator Burr and Senator Hagan introduced the bill on behalf of the citizens of the Outer Banks, the citizens of the state of North Carolina, and all of the visitors from the east coast and beyond that come to Cape Hatteras.  Special thanks should also be given to committee member Joe Manchin- WV (bill co-sponsor), ranking committee member Lisa Murkowski- Alaska, and committee member Mary Landrieu- Louisiana, all of whom supported the bill in discussion at the May business meeting.

This contact is critical.  In recent days, organizations that oppose this legislation have stepped up their campaign through radio ads and “letters to the editor” in various publications.  We must continue to make every effort possible to make our voices heard in our effort to preserve beach access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.


Members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee are listed at http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/members .


You can contact the Senators using one or more of the following methods:

Email:

  • Some Senators have public email addresses but most require the use of contact forms managed through their web sites.  A directory of Senator e-mail addresses does not exist, but online contact forms can be accessed using the following links.

Web Links:

Telephone:

  • A phone call will be the fastest way to communicate your opinion to the Senators.  You will find the phone numbers at the above websites, or you may dial the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to ask for assistance.

Articles found on www.islandfreepress.org , www.obpa.org, www.ncbba.org, may help you formulate your thoughts before you communicate with the Senators. However, timing is critical since any communication must be received by the Senators prior to the June 18 vote.  We ask that you quickly take action.

Thank you.


John Couch

President, OBPA



 
Tuesday, 18 June 2013 13:03

This morning the full committee unanimously “marked” the bill up to the floor of the Senate.


When the committee last met some of the committee could not accept the bill presented at that time. There has been a concerted effort between our supporting Senators and NPS to come up with a bill that would satisfy all parties.


I am trying to get a copy of the bill to post but have not succeeded to do so at this time.


I have been a member of OBPA since its inception in the mid 1970’s and in the last 15 years plus this is the most positive news that I have heard. I do not know what considerations we have been given but after being placed on the interim plan, having the consent decree shoved down our throats, to having NPS listen to nothing the access minded faction suggestions to give us the worst access we have ever had. I look forward to any improvements we can get.


As soon as I get a copy of the bill I will post it and remove this post.


Frank Folb

OBPA Response Team

 

4/26/2013

Status Report:  S.486, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act

We (CHAPA, OBPA & NCBBA) have just returned from DC and visiting several Senators and attending the subcommittee hearing on S.486.  Now is the time for everyone to take action without delay.

Whether or not you have contacted your Senators or the Senate committee members previously, you still need to take the time to make a difference.  If you have contacted them in the past, you must reinforce your earlier comments with one more attempt to influence their position and actions.

 We ask you to contact your Senators and the members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee as quickly as possible in hopes that a favorable Committee markup of S. 486 and ultimately a full Senate vote can occur without delay.

Members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee are listed at http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/members .

You can contact the Senators using one or more of the following methods:

Email:

  • Some Senators have public email addresses but most require the use of contact forms managed through their web sites.  A directory of Senator email addresses does not exist, but online contact forms can be accessed using the following links.

Web Links:

U.S. Mail (slowest):

  • Use the following address & Reference S. 486:

The Honorable (Name)

Energy and Natural Resources Committee (not required if addressing a senator not on the committee)

United States Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

 Dear Senator (Name);

Telephone (fastest):

  • Find phone number on the Senator’s website, or call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and a switchboard operator will connect you.

 Articles found on www.islandfreepress.org , www.obpa.orgwww.ncbba.org, & your most recent NCBBA Newsletter may help you formulate your thoughts before you communicate with the Senators.  However, timing is critical since your letter will be a part of the subcommittee hearing record for S. 486 only if received prior to May 8. We ask that you quickly take action.

Thank you.

 
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