Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Congressional Fix Needed to Address OHV Permitted Event Boondoggle
The ongoing assault on permitted OHV events is a complex issue. First, you have “cost recovery” which has its genesis in the 1952 Independent Offices Appropriations Act. Second, categorical exclusions (CEs) for OHV permitted events (and some other project level activities such as prescribed burns) are now required to have a public notice, a comment period, and a formal appeals process thanks to a 2005 court ruling.
According to BRC "... on July 2, 2005 the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an Order banning the use of CEs. The ruling requires any forest project using a CE to include a formal public notice, be available for public comment and give the public the option of appealing the decision. The order applies to all decisions made with a CE after July 7, 2005. It also applies nationwide."
Linked below is congressional testimony from Mark Rey on the CE court ruling (a good overview)
HQ believes tackling the many bureaucratic hurdles that face permitted OHV and other recreational events is an important task. Over recent years, we have seen many OHV events cancelled and/or postponed because of onerous regulations and red tape.
HQ believes that a congressional fix to this issue is the proper long-term solution. Several key tenets for legislative solutions could include the following:
“Exempt OHV permitted events from cost recovery on units that receive supplemental funding (e.g. state OHV grants, etc.)”
“Exempt CEs for OHV permitted events from public notice, public review, and a formal appeals process where said event uses designated roads, trails, and areas.”
With a new round of DEM and GOP Wilderness bills lurking in the background, this might be the perfect time to propose a fix for the recreation permit issue if there are to be any pro-access compromises offered in these bills as a way to move them forward. Also, we should do outreach to other user groups since they are being impacted too. I envision a bill with a lot of support from diverse recreational interests.
New Round of Wilderness Bills in 2011
Be assured The Quiet Warrior has placed this topic high on his “stack of stuff” to address in 2011 and will continue to develop ideas for proposed legislation.