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HOUSE AGAIN PASSES JONES’ BILL TO RESTORE CAPE HATTERAS BEACH ACCESS PDF Print E-mail
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.

 
OBPA Comments on Sea Turtle Proposed Terrestrial Critical Habitat PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 September 2013 19:32
The OBPA submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on September 14 on the proposed rule to designate terrestrial critical habitat for the Loggerhead sea turtle.  The rule was published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2013 with notice of a public comment period.  The public comment period was reopened by notice in the Federal Register on July 18, 2013.  The comment period ends on September 16. 

The rule considers all beaches in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi as potential candidates for designation for the Loggerhead Northwest Atlantic Distinct Population Segment. A total of 184 different beach segments ranging in length from 0.2 km to 90.0 km are found in these states.  Total length for all beach segments considered is 2,464 km.  Of the 184 segments, 90 segments totaling 1,189.9 km are being proposed as Critical Habitat designation.

In North Carolina,  eight beach segments totaling 154.6 km are proposed as critical habitat.  These  segments are Bogue Banks, Bear Island, Topsail Island, Lea-Hutaff Island, Pleasure Island, Bald Head Island, Oak Island and Holden Beach.

Neither Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area nor Cape Lookout National Seashore are designated as Critical Habitat in the current proposal. 
The Southern Environmental Law Center submitted comments asking that both CAHA and CALO be added to the designated Critical Habitat units.

The OBPA made ten recommendations in the comments it submitted.  One recommendation was that Cape Hatteras not be added to the Critical Habitat designation.  A second recommendation was that no beaches in North Carolina should be designated as Critical Habitat.  In each case, the OBPA argued that the nest counts and nest density per kilometer compared to other beach segments within the six states are far too low for Cape Hatteras or other North Carolina beaches to be considered critical to the survival of the species.

Click here to read the comments, details for these two recommendations and the other eight recommendations submitted.

 
Why Beach Access is Important
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The OBPA is a not-for-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) IRS designation.  Donations are tax deductible.

 
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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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