> debate over snowmobiles in the national parks including the part by
> Senator Reid that Vince quoted a few days ago in the thread titled,
> "Senator Defends NPS stand on Snowmobiles".
> The very next remarks in that debate were by Senator Daschle. They
> include the following which I find most interesting, because they
> seem to imply that the Interior Department and/or National Park
> Service have NOT implemented a blanket ban on the use of snowmobiles
> in the national parks.
> Any comments?
> - - - - -
> Congressional Record
> July 17, 2000
> DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT,
> 2001--CONTINUED (Senate - July 17, 2000)
> Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss
> the rulemaking that has been proposed by the National Park Service to
> limit the use of snowmobiles in national parks.
> Today, Secretary Bruce Babbitt wrote me to describe in greater detail
> how the National Park Service intends to proceed in coming months. I
> believe that it is critical for the agency to review a variety of
> options for managing snowmobiles and to ensure a full opportunity for
> public comment. According to the Secretary's letter, the agency does
> not intend to ban snowmobiles, but will proceed with a rulemaking and
> public comment period that will allow a full analysis of this issue
> and provide options for the controlled use of snowmobiles in national
> parks. I look forward to continuing to discuss this issue with my
> colleagues, the administration, representatives of environmental
> groups and snowmobiling enthusiasts.
> I ask unanimous consent that a letter from Secretary Babbitt be
> included in the Record at this time.
> There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the
> Record, as follows:
> The Secretary of the Interior,
> Washington, July 17, 2000.
> Hon. Thomas A. Daschle,
> U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
> Dear Senator Daschle: I am responding to your recent request for
> clarification of the status of National Park Service actions on the
> use of snowmobiles in national parks. Since there have been some
> misperceptions about what the Service has done, I appreciate the
> opportunity to provide this clarification.
> In response to a petition for a rulemaking, the National Park Service
> has reviewed the snowmobile use that is now allowed in 42 of the 379
> units of the national park system. That review, including a review by
> the Office of the Solicitor of the Department, had led us to conclude
> that much of the snowmobile use that is now occurring is not
> consistent with the requirements of Executive Orders 11644 and 11898,
> issued by Presidents Nixon and Carter, and other legal requirements.
> Accordingly, in April the Department and the Service announced that
> we would undertake a new rulemaking to modify the existing
> system-wide general rule (36 CFR 2.18), and additional park-specific
> special rules, to bring them into compliance with the applicable
> legal requirements. We did not announce that any decision had been
> made, but instead that we intend to initiate a rulemaking process. In
> that process, we will comply with all established requirements for
> rulemaking, including the requirements for seeking and considering
> public comments. It is our current intent to publish by mid-September
> a proposed rule, for public comment, to begin the formal process of
> making these changes.
> Until a new rulemaking is completed, the existing rules on snowmobile
> use in the national parks remain in effect.
> We will seek public comment on a proposed rule generally following
> the format of the existing rule, which prohibits snowmobile use in
> national parks except in certain instances. The draft rule has not
> yet been completed, but, when finalized, it would not affect
> snowmobile use opportunities in national park system areas for the
> following purposes: For access to private, or other non-federal
> property; for access across national parks to reach private or other
> public lands that are open to snowmobiles use; where the roads
> through national parks are not under federal jurisdiction; and as
> authorized in specific national park enabling statutes (i.e., with
> respect to national parks in Alaska and Voyaguers National Park).
> In addition, as a result of settlement of litigation, the National
> Park Service is in the final stages of preparing a Winter Use
> Management Plan and EIS for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National
> Parks. The final decisions on winter use have not been made there,
> but those decisions will determine future winter use management in
> these two parks, including the use of snowmobiles.
> If we do propose a rule containing these elements, and if, following
> public comment, we finalize a rule along these lines, the net effect
> would be that some level of snowmobile use would continue in about 30
> of the 42 national parks where it is now allowed. Of course, since
> the proposed rule will be subject to public review and comment, we
> are likely to consider additional alternatives during this process
> and a different outcome could result.
> To summarize, the National Park Service has not made any final
> decisions on what changes to make in the snowmobile use that is
> allowed in national parks, and any decisions we make will be made
> following public comment and in compliance with other requirements
> for agency rulemaking. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify this.
> Bruce Babbitt.
> - - - - -
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> Before you buy.