U.S. House approves Seashore access bill

By on June 19, 2012

(Sam Walker)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that includes a provision to roll back rules governing access to the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The bill introduced by Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., is one of 14 provisions in the Conservation and Economic Growth Act, which passed 232-188.

Obama weighs in on House bill »

North Carolina votes

Walter Jones, R-3rd District
Renee Elmers R-2nd District
Virginia Foxx, R-5th District
Howard Coble, R-6th District
Mike McIntyre, D-7th District
Larry Kissel, D-8th District
Sue Myrick, R-9th District
Patrick McHenry, R-10th District
Heath Shuler, D-11th District
Brad Miller, D-13th District

G.K. Butterfield, D-1st District
David Price, D-4th District
Mel Watt, D-12th District.

The proposal would throw out the current rules for off-road vehicles, ignore a settlement of a lawsuit brought by environmentalists against the National Park Service and return to a set of rules implemented in 2007 for the Seashore.

In a statement, Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge, who testified before a Congressional Subcommittee urging the passage of H.R. 4094, described the significance of the vote.

“The House of Representatives has passed a landmark piece of legislation,” Judge said. “It will provide reasonable recreational access in a way that utilizes science-based resource management for shorebirds and turtles.”

Judge added, “H.R. 4094 represents a true win-win situation, for both people and wildlife.”

Board Vice Chairman Allen Burrus thanked Jones and his staff for their efforts to get House passage of H.R. 4094.

“They did the right thing for the people of Hatteras Island and the businesses that have suffered for too long,” Burrus said. “My hope is that this will be a stepping stone to pass similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.”

The White House issued a statement Monday, saying the Obama administration opposes the bill.

“Overall, H.R. 2578 contains a number of provisions that would undermine the responsible balance of interests and considerations in the stewardship of the Nation’s lands and natural resources,” said the statement from The White House Office of Management and Budget.

“H.R. 2578…reverse(s) course on the science-based National Park Service plan, developed after a lengthy public engagement process, that provides an appropriate balance of off-road vehicle access and protection of sensitive seashore areas,” according to the statement.

The overall bill contains a number of provisions that Democrats say also has almost no chance of clearing the Senate.

In the U.S. Senate, a companion bill to the Jones proposal has been introduced by Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and Sen. Richard Burr (R), and is scheduled for debate during a June 27 committee hearing.

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June 27, 2012 10:21 pm

I RTFA on the sea level rise conundrum and basically all they are saying that the flow of the currents will cause the ocean to be higher than expected (like storm surge or a a nor’easter does). What the Phds can’t see is that it wont stack up without limit. Just remember, all professions have stupid people, even scientific ones.

flamingo mama

June 27, 2012 8:26 pm

And, by the way if you have a permit to drive on the beach, be sure to wear your seat belt. My son didn’t and wound up in handcuffs yesterday, lost his permit, and more….


June 25, 2012 10:39 pm

Thanks Georgio, but just to be clear, are you saying you need a manual to tell you to put quotations around words that are not your own “off the cuff” explanations?


June 25, 2012 6:16 pm

I tried to explain subduction but wiki said it so much cleaner. And I forgot to drive home and fish out the APA manual from the bookshelf.

and it is scientific… rather than off the cuff.

I ain’t complainin’ I’m explainin’


June 25, 2012 3:16 pm


Doing a cut and paste with no quotes is not very “scientific”.

Just sayin’.


June 25, 2012 11:51 am

Yah, but it don’t work that way. The barriers will just move, not disappear… unless the rivers disappear, then bad times.


June 25, 2012 10:10 am

The sea is rising disproportionally on the east coast? That flies in the face of hydro-dynamics (remember physics class). The seas, being liquid will rise proportionally on a global scale; the east coast won’t raise dramatically more than Europe, or the west coast or South America. What editor let that idiotic article go to press?

So, what is a better analysis of the situation that is being falsely promoted by the ever-knowledgeable press?

In all probability it will come down to plate tectonics, which is continuous and gives the appearance of rising coastline water when in actuality the plates are folding under normally (plate subduction) and the coastline is “sinking” as local convection currents exert a downward frictional pull on plates in subduction zones at ocean trenches. Slab suction may occur in a geodynamic setting wherein basal tractions continue to act on the plate as it dives into the mantle (although perhaps to a greater extent acting on both the under and upper side of the slab).


June 25, 2012 7:56 am

Oh boy. I just realized all the sea level rise controversy and beach access under the guise of wildlife protection are all tied together. If the beaches are deemed non accessable
for public use, then there will be no funding available for shore protection.


The NPA is just following the bigger federal government plan to let non-developed shoreline disappear. Some land will be guaranteed protection while the rest will be subject to nature’s course.


June 24, 2012 12:21 pm

What would HI look like today if the developers had gotten their hands on the land outside the villages?

Duck, Southern Shores, Corolla??


June 23, 2012 10:21 am

Actually, the plover here aren’t indigenous and aren’t endangered. And frankly, they don’t care.

The turtles do, but that is just when they hatch and no one here minds protecting them then. Protecting where the birds and turtles aren’t I consider strange though.

There actually have not been any turtle deaths from legal activity in over 10 years (before the restrictions). The beach is still here to be protected because the people here have been protecting it for over 250 years. It was after they gave it to the government (for perpetual use) as a RECREATION AREA that the birds and turtles seem to need protection. The plover seem to need more protection here than where they are indigenous.

Please read up on the topic before casting disparaging remarks at the environmentalists that want to use ORVs usually below the wrack line to access places where fish are. The back-seat environmentalists have to resort to lies and subterfuge to get their way… don’t be their clueless pawn.

Joshua Harden

June 23, 2012 7:10 am

Most of these pr**ks wont be happy till all the wildlife is gone.Just so you can fish and ride the beach. I guess you’re more important, NOT. The birds were here LONG before you and will be here long after you are forgotton. If you dont get your way and see to it all are gone.


June 21, 2012 7:13 pm

Junkman why dont you take a hike? There are some who can’t walk to the surf like wounded warriors.those with debilitating diseases.


June 21, 2012 4:49 pm

Regardless Romney or Obama in Jan 2013, and/or a GOP lead Congress, the only way this will get though is MONEY! Someone has to cough up some serious funny money to fluff the reelection pockets for those congressional candidates come Nov. BIG campaign donations speak volumes as the “real voice” to change.

If you want open beaches on Cape Hatteras, every upcoming congressional candidate (D or R) requires big campaign contributions and perhaps even a “signed pledge.”

Who can be the “Grover Norquist” touting a signed congressional pledge for open beaches on Cape Hatteras?! Of course BIG, BIG dollar signs have to back it!

All those active to free our beaches, do you have the connections?!

OBX Long Liner

June 21, 2012 12:51 pm

Weaken environmental laws ? Walk – right? -with the cooler, rods, bait, fish, etc. If you want to take a nature walk go visit another park – “junkman” Return the beaches to the people who use them.


June 21, 2012 9:47 am

The bill in general is another Republican attempt to weaken effective and valid environmental laws under the guise of “job creation”, and Jones jumped on the bandwagon again. Hopefully the Senate will nix it or the President veto it. Park the gas guzzlers and walk to the beach. Get some exercise.

OBX Long Liner

June 21, 2012 9:04 am

There you go – the only way to fix this is in November.
Kick Obama out and elect a Republican controlled Senate. Let all of our visitors from other states know that NOW is the time to vote so that they can return and use the beaches as we did in the past BEFORE the environmental wackos took over! Go ahead — don’t you know people from other states who have Dem. Senators? Call them, write them, email them. Encourage them to elect a Republican Senate, House and President – the only way to fix this mess.


June 20, 2012 5:12 pm

@HatterasKeith: SFran has more political clout than Hatteras ever will.

The reality and the impetus on this issue is that the Turtles and sandplovers (Et cetera)carry more weight than the plight of those making a living off of the outer banks.

Unfortunately those whose heritage is rooted in the Outer Banks are also cojoined with the those who just “showed up” and they are the ones who stand to lose the most.


June 20, 2012 4:13 pm

All of the CHAPA millionaire friends work for a living every day. They are the folks that want to enjoy the beach on their days off………..the TAXPAYER wants to use their property for Recreation.


June 20, 2012 3:33 pm

Islanders, continue to make your voices heard! You have a start.


June 20, 2012 3:25 pm

Want this to pass…. you need BIG money, not big voices.


June 20, 2012 3:24 pm

I think its going to take more then “prayer” to make this pass given the Senate and Obama admin shootdown.

Too bad the beach access supporters did not have some billionaire buds to fund some money into election campaign coffers. Or do they?!


June 20, 2012 1:04 pm

Geo,, ahhh gee? , what about wild fires? tornadoes? earth quakes? tsunamis? maybe we should just all abandon San Francisco right now and let nature reclaim it.

Ray Midgett

June 20, 2012 12:09 pm

Guess who supported Obama for President? Warren Judge, Allen Burrus and others. Doesn’t politics make strange bedfellows?


June 20, 2012 11:04 am

I have a comment that is probably not very popular but it is undeniably true.

I remember what is was like in the 70′s and early 80′s, it was blissfully remote and I spent many days throughout the year camping, fishing, and hiking the beaches. It’s not like that any longer, but it will be at some point in time when THE Hurricane slams into the area.

Then what?
Restoration back to the current status quo?
Or, let nature reclaim.
Or, a partial restoration.

john turner

June 20, 2012 10:26 am

Great news, but hitting a roadblock I fear. For you idiots who voted for Obama and allowed Obama to carry North Carolina You are going to get what you deserve when he vetos the bill. Hopefully enough pressure will be brought to bare, and the white house will not veto it if the senate approves it.


June 20, 2012 9:26 am

Do not bet on passage in the Dem. controlled senate, Obama opposes the bill and his communist counter-parts are sure to do the same. Few Dems in the house outside of NC voted in favor.


June 20, 2012 9:00 am

The Department of Interior and National Park Service are systematically removing the TAXPAYER from the lands they manage. Look at a few of the lawsuits before DOI and NPS: Uranium mining in AZ, a Oyster Farm in CA, the snowmobiles in MT, off road vehicles in FL, pipelines in NE, powerlines in NJ, beach access in NC…….Where does it end?

Have your US Senator co-sponsor Support S #2372 by NC Senators Purdue and Burr ……Can we just have our access to Parks and NPS land restored?

If you don’t know how to contact your Senator ….contactus@ncbba.org …..can help you!


June 20, 2012 8:55 am

Give the people their beaches back!!! I’m so glad to see some progress! Let’s pray it will make it the rest of the way!

Salvo Jimmy

June 20, 2012 8:28 am

If you are from another state you can go here to see how your Rep voted


Dand T

June 20, 2012 7:58 am

Everyone now needs to take a brief moment to contact the members above and voice your opinion to pass this through the Senate.

old school

June 20, 2012 7:31 am

Well a step in the right direction but as far as the Obama administration not liking the change, doesnot this go against his, Obama’s, platform when he was elected. This is a simple move by the White House to gain more control of Our lands and turn them into private gov. controlled properties by way of the Park service. Not looking to the needs of the people and using old text to bully there way around is truly backwards thinking. The regulations need to be re-written and adjusted to fit the times. Less Government is needed in cases where the people come first. These lands belong to us the people not some bureaucratic monster in Washington.


June 20, 2012 7:30 am

The overall bill contains a number of provisions that DEMOCRATS SAY also has almost NO CHANCE OF CLEARING THE SENAT! THANKS PERDUE!!!!!WHAT A JOKE!!

Jann Dehus

June 20, 2012 6:50 am

Hopefully, common sense will prevail and recreational rights will be restored so the fine, hard-working folks on Hatteras can continue to earn a living on their Island.

Russ McNair

June 20, 2012 6:50 am

This is the best news I’ve heard in years! Let’s hope the committee meeting also has positive news for locals & beach goers. Anxious for June 27.


June 19, 2012 11:10 pm

Now it is time to contact the Senate committee members:
Democratic Subcommittee Members

Senator Mark Udall (Chairman)
Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D, LA)
Senator Bernard Sanders (I) (D, VT)
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D, MI)
Senator Al Franken (D, MN)
Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV)
Senator Christopher A. Coons (D, DE)

Republican Subcommittee Members

Senator Rand Paul (R, KY)
Senator John Barrasso (R, WY)
Senator Daniel Coats (R, IN)
Senator Rob Portman (R, OH)
Senator Dean Heller (R, NV)
Senator Bob Corker (R, TN)

Ex Officio Subcommittee Members

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D, NM)
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R, AK)

Reference: http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/national-parks

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