On March 14, 2013 the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation held a Legislative Hearing on H.R. 588, H.R. 716 and H.R. 819.
March 14, 2013
House Subcommittee Hearing on H.R. 819 - "Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act"
Congressman Walter B. Jones and Warren Judge, Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners gave testimony in support of this legislation. They made clear the problems which have been created for the visitors and residents of the Outer Banks by the promulgation of the ORV rule on February 15, 2012 and the importance of the passage of H.R. 819.
Information concerning the hearing can be viewed at the Hearing website
Links to the written testimony submitted, as well as to the archived hearing webcast are also available on the site.
Minutes of the OPBA Annual Members Meeting – Saturday October 12, 2012
The Annual OBPA public meeting for was called to order at 7:00 pm at the Angler’s Club in Buxton, NC. The directors in attendance were John Couch, Natalie Kavanagh, Anne Bowers, Pat Weston, Jeff Golding, Don Bowers, Ron Tasso and David Scarborough. There were 14 guests present for the meeting.
President John Couch began the meeting by introducing the board by name and title; Pat Weston – Vice President, Anne Bowers – Secretary, David Scarborough – Treasurer and the directors Natalie Kavanagh, Jeff Golding, Don Bowers, and Ron Tasso. Board member Wayne Mathis was unable to attend because he was attending the UMAPA board meeting in Maryland as a representative for the OBPA.
The Treasurer’s report was given by David Scarborough. Fundraisers continue to be critical to OBPA’s mission as well as the amazing support from the membership through annual dues and donations. The bank account has been growing over the last 3 years to meet the challenges ahead. The balance was $99,547 in 2010, $204,252 in 2011 and $204,707 by September 30, 3012. The balance reflects the $15,500 loan from the United Mobile Access Preservation Alliance.
In 2011, the OBPA raised about $125,000 through the following means: $30,000 from membership dues, $6,500 from fundraisers, $8,000 from merchandise sales and $80,000 from contributions with recognition to a $40,000 donation from NCBBA and $5,000 from the Fishing Hole in Salvo and $5,000 from UMAPA. In early 2012, the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club donated $5,000.
Legal fees continue to be the OBPA’s largest expense. So far in 2012, $62,000 had been paid out in legal fees alone.
An overview was given on the legislative side of our mission. HR-4094 was introduced on February 28, 2012 and later combined with HR-2598 which passed on June 19, 2012. S-2372 remains in committee. There is a strong effort to move it to the floor for a vote. Angler’s Club, NCBBA along with the OBPA continue to urge their members to call their state senators. The window is closing due to the November 6th election but there is still an opportunity. In January 2013, the board will reconsider how to more forward.
The legal effort was also addressed but there was no time table yet.
Anne Bowers spoke on the fundraising efforts put forth for 2012. A new T-shirt design was introduced over the summer with a design to appeal to multiple user groups. Just released was a new pocket tee. They are available online or at area stores. Sales have been strong on this new product.
Donation jars that are all over the county in several retail businesses continue to be the OBPA’s largest fundraiser.
Smaller and regular BBQs have replaced the single large ‘Stand in the Sand’ event which took place 3 summers in a row at the Fessenden Center. The BBQs are easier to handle because it takes less people and is more profitable.
The board is always open to fresh ideas for fundraising that our small group can handle and a general call for volunteers was made.
Pat Weston gave an overview of the effects that Hurricane Irene in 2011 had on the island and the OBPA. Storm recovery became first and foremost for our membership as well as the board members. All fundraisers for 2011 ended with the hurricane. The start of required beach driving permits began on Feb. 15, 2012 while the island was still in the throws of recovery.
A report about the ORV permit was also given by Pat Weston who got some information for Darrell Echols of the NPS. The new stickers will go attach to the inside of the windshield for 2013. The NPS reported the permit situation was working well and the longest wait over the season was around 15 minutes. From February 15 through October 7, 2012, 7,513 annual permits had been sold and 20,398 weekly permits sold which adds up to nearly 2 million dollars in permit sales. Echols reported that they experienced fewer problems with beach driving since the permit system began and this was probably due to their increased education. He also said that there were very few disruptive applicants.
Jeff Golding is in charge of the OPBA’s Facebook page. He told the group that the page is not getting as many hits as wanted – that people are not sharing their experiences as expected. He also addressed the Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) interest in Cape Hatteras’ access problems and their pledge to help us. According to BRC executive director, Greg Mumm, if Hatteras falls, so do the rest. Mumm visited Cape Hatteras in 2012.
John Couch closed out the meeting by extending special thanks to our membership, to Jim Keene of the NCBBA who is very involved with the OBPA, to the Angler’s Club for their support and use of their resources, to the Island Free Press for its fair and straight forward reporting on access issues, to the Dare County Government, the ASA and to our legal team at Van Ness Feldman. The fight for beach access is a group effort and that the OBPA is not alone in this battle.
The annual meeting adjourned around 7:46 p.m. and the floor was opened to a question and answer session from the guests which lasted for 54 minutes.
2012 OBPA Annual Members Meeting
7:00 p.m. Friday, October 12, 2012
Cape Hatteras Anglers Club
47231 Light Plant Road
Buxton, NC 27920
Dear OBPA Members;
The Outer Banks Preservation Association will hold its annual members meeting on Friday October 12, 2012 at the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club, 47231 Light Plant Road Buxton N.C. 27920 at 7:00 pm. The annual meeting will consist of a report from the president for the prior year and up-to-date informational reports to the membership by the Officers and committees. No business will be conducted at this meeting. Minutes of the meeting will be posted at www.obpa.org. After the meeting, the Board of Directors will answer any questions members might have. Hope to see you there.
Quick 2012 Highlights:
House of Representatives:
- House Bill H.R. 4094, Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act, was introduced by Congressman Walter B. Jones on February 28, 2012.
- The House Subcommittee on National Park, Forests and Public Lands held a hearing on H.R. 4094 on April 27, 2012. OBPA President John Couch and Dare County Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge were invited witnesses who provided testimony at this hearing in Washington, D.C.
- H.R. 4094 was combined with thirteen other bills into a package as H.R. 2578 - The Conservation and Economic Growth Act".
- Bill H.R. 2578 was passed by the full House of Representatives on June 19th, 2012 and forwarded to the Senate.
- Senate Bill S.2372, Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, was introduced by Senators' Hagan and Burr on April 26, 2012.
- The Senate Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S.2372 on June 27, 2012. Dare County Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge was an invited witness who provided testimony at the hearing in Washington, D.C.
- S.2372 remains in committee as of the start of the fall recess.
- H.R. 2578, which was sent to the Senate after House passage, was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources where it remains as of the start of the fall recess.
What can you Do?
- Contact your Senators and urge them to engage with the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to move this bill out of committee to the floor for full vote and passage during the legislative session that will occur immediately after the November election.
CHAPA vs Salazar(DOI), Jarvis(NPS), Murray(CAHA) case 1:12-cd-00219 was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 9, 2012.
- The defendants delivered the Administrative Record to the court and plaintiffs on September 7, 2012 as instructed by the court.
- The attorneys for CHAPA are conducting a thorough review of the Administrative Record in preparation for the next phase of the case.
The OBPA has attempted to keep its membership and the public informed on the continuing events related to the above two actions as well as other matters relevant to access within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore through the following venues:
- Website: www.obpa.org
- Emails: via Constant Contact, permission-based, announcements and informational updates to members
- Mailings: February 21, 2012 CHAPA newsletter covering the implementation of the Final ORV rule.
Visit www.obpa.org for the most current information on Free and Open Access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area
To: CHAPA Membership
In a couple of weeks, Congress will return from the summer recess, the party conventions will be over, and the end of the 112th Congress will be looming. Now is the time for everyone who feels strongly about the access issue at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area to take action without delay.
The window of opportunity for 2012 is closing fast. If you’ve not contacted your Senators or the Senate committee members previously, you still have time to make a difference. If you have contacted them in the past, you must reinforce your earlier comments with one last 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 Committee markup of S. 2372 and ultimately a full Senate vote can occur shortly after the Senate reconvenes.
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:
- 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.
- http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm is a directory of all U.S. Senators with links provided for contact forms for each Senator.
- http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form is a contact form for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
- Use the following address:
The Honorable (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator (Name);
- 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.
The following letter has been sent on behalf of CHAPA to the Committee chairman and its members. It, plus 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 the recess will soon be over and the time available for action during the remainder of the year is limited. We ask that you quickly take action.
The Honorable Jeff Bingaman
Chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Committee Chairman Bingaman;
S.2372 – Action Requested
I write this letter to urge you and your Senate colleagues to take all steps necessary to move S. 2372, Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, out of the Energy and Natural Resources committee to the full Senate, and to achieve its passage without delay before the end of the 112th Congress.
Today, August 27, begins the last week of the summer vacation season across America. For the visitors and residents of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it has been a summer of disappointment and frustration. New policies implemented this year by the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area severely reduced beach access options in ways many thought would never happen. Access restrictions threaten to forever prevent users from activities traditionally enjoyed on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. Miles and miles of beach have been off limits for most or all of this summer’s tourist season including areas most popular with visitors since decades before the Seashore’s inception. Many of these miles are effectively closed to human use year round as a result of these new policies. As the full impact of the new policies are understood, visitors have reduced their stays, some vowing not to return in the future placing additional hardships on the local economy.
You have the power to change this terrible situation through the passage of S. 2372. This bill will require a management plan that balances access and resource protection without impairment to either. It will establish requirements that will prevent similar problems in the future as the management plan evolves with the ever-changing seashore. And, it will accomplish this change at a lower implementation cost to taxpayers, improved visitor experiences, and no negative impact to the local economy. North Carolina Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr introduced this bill and it is cosponsored by Senator Joe Manchin, West Virginia. Testimony on this bipartisan bill was heard by the National Parks subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 27, 2012.
S. 2372 is a companion bill to H.R. 4094. H.R. 4094 was included as a component of H.R. 2578 which passed in the House and was sent to the Senate on June 19, 2012. The Senate now has the opportunity to correct the problems which exist with the current management plan before another year of disappointment, frustrations and hardships.
John Couch, President OBPA
CHAPA Files Objection to Moving Case to North Carolina Eastern District Federal Court
"As previously reported, on July 26, 2012 D.C. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan indicated his inclination to sua sponte (i.e., on his own will, without request by any party) transfer the D.C. Court litigation challenging the final CHNSRA ORV management plan to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. On August 6, 2012 as directed by Judge Sullivan, CHAPA filed an objection to such transfer. On August 10, 2012, the U.S. attorney filed the defendant's response to the CHAPA objection. On August 13, 2012, the attorneys for the intervenors filed the intervenors' response to the CHAPA objection. These documents may be viewed by clicking on the enclosed links. Judge Sullivan will consider these documents and issue a ruling in the near future.