The federal defendants in the Cape Hatteras Preservation Alliance’s lawsuit that seeks to overturn the National Park Service’s final off-road vehicle plan and rule at Cape Hatteras National Seashore have filed the administrative record of ORV rulemaking.
The record was filed on Thursday, Aug. 6, in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.
The record, as you might guess, is voluminous, consisting of about 3,500 documents.
At about 8 gigabytes it was too large for electronic filing, and the defendants were permitted to file it manually with the court – on two CDs.
The Outer Banks Preservation Association, one of the groups that comprise CHAPA, has received copies of the CDs from its attorneys at Van Ness Feldman in Washington, D.C., and posted the administrative record on its website at http://obpa-nc.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=440&Itemid=61.
Look at the top left on the website under “Administrative Record” for an index and instructions for using the index. Almost all of the documents are now posted, but there were some problems with the CDs that OBPA received. The rest of the documents will be posted soon.
On the Island Free Press website, you can find an index of the documents that have been filed and the Vaughn Index for the administrative records.
The index to the documents is pretty large itself and is divided into comments, correspondence, data, court documents, decision documents, references, and negotiated rulemaking documents. (See tabs along the bottom of the Excel document.)
The correspondence file is pretty interesting just to peruse and refers to a number of e-mails that could be revealing about the process of the rulemaking.
And CHAPA’s lawsuit is all about the process.
The complaint, filed on Feb. 9, challenges both the final rule and plan and alleges that in formulating the documents, the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, the seashore’s enabling legislation, and the NPS Organic Act.
District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan allowed the Defenders of Wildlife, the National Audubon Society, and the National Parks Conservation Association to join the action as defendant-intervenors. Those groups are represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
The Vaughn Index is a list of 96 documents in the administrative record that the defendants are withholding under several different privileges. In this case, the defendants are claiming attorney-client privilege for most of the withheld documents.
Of course, CHAPA and its attorneys will be carefully reviewing the documents for anything that will help support its case that the process of rulemaking was flawed.
Also, Sullivan is expected to rule soon on whether he will continue to preside over the case in the District of Columbia or whether he will send it to U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Sullivan said in a telephone status conference in July that he was inclined to send the case to Boyle.
CHAPA objected to the transfer. The federal defendants said they neither objected to nor support the move. And the defendant-intervenors, the environmental groups, filed a brief supporting the transfer to Boyle.
Audubon rant is published on Forbes.com
No one was surprised when Audubon magazine published another rant by field editor and columnist Ted Williams about ORVs at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
This one was entitled “Beach Bullies.”
As usual, it was arrogant and misleading and full of half-truths about the success of the Park Service’s new ORV rule and final regulation.
But that was to be expected.
However, eyebrows were raised when Williams’ rant was republished on Forbes.com by personal finance editor Deborah Jacobs – apparently in her column space.
Jacobs had this to say in a precede to the reprint:
This is a guest post by Ted Williams, a columnist for Audubon magazine and Fly Rod & Reel. For a more detailed treatment of the subject, see his article, “Beach Bullies” and an accompanying Editor’s Note in the September-October 2012 issue of Audubon.
The provocative headline is “The Outer Banks of North Carolina Become a Bloody Beachhead.”
Several readers posted comments about the fact that a respectable publication such as Forbes would reprint this one-sided trash.
The responses to comments are by Ted Williams, who is arrogant, condescending, and argumentative in answering the folks who posted.
I e-mailed Jacobs to ask her why this one-sided diatribe was reprinted on Forbes, what it had to do with personal finance, why it had an extremely provocative headline, and why Jacobs was being allowed to put down those who commented.
This is the non-response I got from her:
Thanks to you and all the others who weighed in with their comments on Ted Williams’s opinion piece. His article and the bumper sticker depicted in it accentuate the strong feelings on both sides of this issue. Those who think he was unfair have had equal access to the comment space beneath the post and added their dissenting opinions to the marketplace of ideas.
Deborah L. Jacobs
She did respond to my e-mail but did not answer the questions.
I also e-mailed the editors at Forbes.com, and got no response from them.
The “bloody beachhead” trash is still posted.
So I suggest that you take advantage of the equal access and if you have a dissenting opinion, you add it to “the marketplace of ideas.”
Just don’t add to Ted Williams’ stereotyping of ORV drivers as a bunch of redneck cowboys. Please be polite in your comments.