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Written by Administrator   
Monday, 26 May 2014 10:40

Jones Takes Action to Reform Endangered Species Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is taking action to modernize the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in order to prevent the waste of taxpayer money and implementation of unnecessary, economically harmful regulations.  This week, Congressman Jones is cosponsoring seven pieces of legislation that would bring transparency to ESA processes and reduce the law’s impact on economic growth.

 “In Eastern North Carolina, we continue to see the negative economic impact of unnecessary ESA-related regulations,” said Congressman Jones.  “These regulations are often based on suspect science, and they are implemented on top of other federal, state and local management measures that are already adequately protecting the species in question.  The bills that I’ve cosponsored would enact common-sense reforms, bring transparency to ESA listing and litigation procedures, and ensure that the economy and other important factors are fully considered before more unnecessary regulations are put into place.”

 A summary of the legislation that Congressman Jones is cosponsoring follows:

  •  H.R. 1314 – Would prevent special interest groups from bringing unnecessary lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – which are settled on the taxpayer dime and often result in action being taken without advice from experts or impacted groups – by amending the ESA to allow input from any person, business, state or local government that would be affected by the settlement of the lawsuit.
  • H.R. 4256 – Endangered Species Improvement Act of 2014 – Would ensure that the federal government counts animals dwelling on both private and federal lands when determining recovery for species listed as threatened or endangered.
  • H.R. 4315 – 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in ESA listing decisions by requiring the data used in making those decisions to be publicly available online.
  • H.R. 4316 – Endangered Species Recovery Transparency Act – Would provide transparency in the cost of litigation brought against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the ESA by requiring FWS to report to Congress and make available online the amount of taxpayer money used to respond to lawsuits, the number of employees dedicated to litigation, and attorneys fees awarded as a result of lawsuits.
  • H.R. 4317 – State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act – Would require that in making ESA listing decisions, the federal government use scientific and commercial data provided by states, tribes, and local governments that will be affected by the listing, and disclose to those governments what data was used in making the decision.
  • H.R. 4318 – Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act – Would place caps on taxpayer-funded attorneys fees in litigation brought under the ESA, making the law consistent with the Equal Access to Justice Act.
  • H.R. 4319 – Common Sense in Species Protection Act – Would require that before issuing a critical habitat designation, the federal government must publish and make available for public comment a comprehensive analysis, taking into account public and private economic effects on land use, property value, employment, and the provision of public services such as water and power.

 For additional information, please contact Sarah Howard in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Monday, 26 May 2014 10:43
Red Knot Critical Habitat PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 26 May 2014 10:17

At the request of Congressman Jones, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within the Department of the Interior has scheduled a public hearing in Manteo extended the official comment period with regard to the designation of critical habitat for the Rufa Red Knot under the Endangered Species Act.

North Carolina - Alligator National Wildlife Refuge

Visitor Center

100 Conservation Way

Manteo, NC 27954

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Public Information Session

7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Public Hearing

The designation of critical habitat can have significant impact on how public land may be used.  Dare county has been directly affected by critical habitat designation for the piping plove and for loggerhead sea turtles in the past.

Many important public areas within Dare County as well as within other coastal North Carolina counties are included in the proposed designation.
The OBPA urges all residents and visitors to become familiar with the proposed regulation and to submit comments.
Click this link to review regulatory documents and submit comments prior to the June 15, 2014 deadline.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 12:36
Seashore Night Driving Restrictions Go Into Effect May 1st PDF Print E-mail
Written by Frank Folb   
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 14:07

National Park Service News Release


CONTACT: Cyndy M. Holda, Public Affairs Specialist, 252-475-9034



Cape Hatteras National Seashore Night Driving

Restrictions Go Into Effect May 1st


Superintendent Barclay Trimble reminds park visitors that night beach driving restrictions for ORV use on Seashore ocean beaches go into effect Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 9:00 p.m.  From May 1 – September 14, ORV routes on ocean beaches are closed to ORVs from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. during the sea turtle nesting season.  Beginning September 15 to November 15, 2014, ORV routes will reopen when there are no sea turtle nests remaining on that route or portion of the route.


In addition, from May 1 to November 15, beach fires are limited to the following ocean beaches in front of:

  • Coquina Beach parking lot
  • The villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras
  • Ocracoke Day Use area


In general, fires are allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and a fire permit is required.  To obtain the free beach fire permit, visit one of the three ORV permit offices, any of the park campgrounds or visitor centers, or available on-line at:  http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/beach-fire-permit.  The beach fire permit is valid only when a responsible adult (18 years of age or older) is present.  Fires, no greater than 3 feet in diameter, may be ignited and maintained seaward of the ocean dune, below the high tide line and at least 50 feet from any vegetation.  Fires cannot be left unattended and must be completely extinguished (cold to touch) upon termination of use.  Clean area of all trash before leaving the beach and remember the “pack in/pack out” practice of leaving national seashore beaches in a clean and safe condition for the next visitor.


As the turtle nesting season proceeds, park visitors will encounter localized sea turtle nest protection areas.  These areas are posted on-site and closed to ORVs, pedestrians, and pets.

Fireworks and metal detectors are prohibited.  Pets must be on leashed at all times.


For further information, please call (252) 473-2111 or check http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/googleearthmap.htm

Thursday, 06 February 2014 12:21
“It is time for the Senate to act.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives voted to approve Congressman Walter B. Jones’ (NC-3) proposal to repeal excessive restrictions on human access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area.  The provision would repeal regulations implemented by a 2012 National Park Service rule and a 2008 court-approved Consent Decree and instead require that visitor access and species protection be governed by the Park Service’s 2007 Interim Management Strategy.  The Interim Management Strategy was supported by a 113-page Biological Opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which found that it would not jeopardize piping plover, sea turtles, or other species of concern.

“The last thing we need in Eastern North Carolina is unnecessary government regulation stifling job creation and economic growth,” said Congressman Jones.  “I am grateful to my colleagues in the House for voting to approve this common-sense measure, which strikes the appropriate balance between protecting the species that live in the Cape Hatteras area and protecting the taxpayers’ right to access the recreational areas that they own.  Now it is time for the Senate to act.”

The Cape Hatteras provision was included in the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act (H.R. 2954), which passed the House today with a bipartisan vote of 220 to 194 and will now go to the Senate for further consideration.  Congressman Jones’ speech on the House floor today in favor of the legislation can be viewed here.

This is the second time that the House has approved Congressman Jones’ Cape Hatteras access proposal.  It first passed the House in 2012 as part of H.R. 2578, but the Senate took no action on that bill.

(article originally published on Congressman Walter P. Jones website http://jones.house.gov/ )

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:34
CHAPA Responds to Defendants' Motions and Memos PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 17 January 2014 18:45
On January 16, 2014 CHAPA's attorneys filed a response in opposition to the motions for summary judgement filed by the DOI and intervenors in the CHAPA vs DOI lawsuit. Links to the documents which were filed can be found in the Legal References menu in the left column on the OBPA website homepage.

CHAPA filed a complaint against the Department of Interior and The National Park Service on February 9, 2012.  The DOI responded to the complaint on April 23, 2012.The administrative record for the ORV Management Plan and Final ORV Rule was made available by the National Park Service in September of 2012. 

The case was moved from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to the U.S. District Court, North Carolina
Eastern District in December, 2012. 

CHAPA filed a motion for summary judgement  on July 10, 2013.  The defendants (DOI and intervenors) filed a cross motion for summary judgement on November 4, 2013.

The next action will be a response to the 1/16/2014 CHAPA filing from the defendants.  That filing is due on February 13, 2014.

After the defendants' response, Judge Boyle will review the arguments and issue a ruling.  The timing of that ruling will be dependent on the time required by the judge to complete his review.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 22:21
OBPA Comments on Loggerhead Marine Critical Habitat PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 November 2013 14:06

In an earlier article, we advised you that the  National Marine Fisheries Service had published a proposed rule to designate marine critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle.

The rule proposes the designation of 36 areas along the southeast coast and Gulf of Mexico as marine critical habitat (CH) for the Northwest Atlantic DPS.  Each of these areas has been identified as containing one or more of the following four habitat types:

(a)    Nearshore Reproductive Habitat

(b)   Winter Habitat

(c)    Breeding Habitat

(d)   Migratory Habitat

NMFS asked for comments regarding these proposed designations as well as “comment on whether to include in the final rule some areas that contain foraging habitat and two large areas that contain Sargassum habitat.”

The NMFS proposal was based on scientific data analyses and economic impact analyses that contained significant shortcomings which must be addressed before the final rule is established.  We believe the designation of any CH must be based on the proper application of regulations established by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Most importantly, NMFS must base its recommendation for each CH on the best available science (including a thorough analysis of the best available historical data) and on an accurate assessment of the CH’s importance to the survival of the species.  It must also give proper consideration to economic and social impacts due to any CH designation it makes.

The full OBPA response submitted to the NMFS can be read here.


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NCBBA Donates $10,000 to CHAPA to fight for Access 11/21/2013

Jim Keene, NCBBA Director (center) presents a check to John Couch (L), OBPA President and David Scarborough (R). OBPA Treasurer in the amount of $10,000.00 to be used by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA) in the continuing fight for free and open beaches.

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