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JONES HATTERAS BEACH ACCESS BILL PASSES THE HOUSE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House passed Congressman Walter B. Jones’ bill – The Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act. The bill was rolled into a package of 13 other bills and voted on as H.R. 2578 - the Conservation and Economic Growth Act. Congressman Jones’ bill would restore taxpayers’ right to reasonable pedestrian and motorized access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area. H.R. 2578 passed the House by a vote of 232-188, and now goes to the Senate for further consideration.
“This legislation is about jobs, it’s about the taxpayers’ right to access the recreational areas they own, and it’s about restoring balance and common sense to National Park Service management,” said Jones.
Jones’ bill would overturn a final rule implemented by the Park Service earlier this year that excessively restricts taxpayers’ access to Cape Hatteras Seashore, and is unnecessary to protect the wildlife. The language would reinstitute the Park Service’s 2007 Interim Management Strategy to govern visitor access and species protection at Cape Hatteras. It would reopen 26 miles of beach that are now permanently closed to motorized beach access, and give seashore managers flexibility to implement more balanced measures that maximize both recreational access and species protection. By doing so, the bill would reverse the significant job loss and economic decline that Hatteras Island has experienced since the Park Service cut off access to the most popular areas of the seashore.
There is broad, bipartisan public support for this effort. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kay Hagan (D-NC) have introduced the same bill in the Senate. The bill is also supported by national sportsmen’s groups including the American Sportfishing Association and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.