In a couple of weeks, Congress will return from the summer recess, the party conventions will be over, and the end of the 112th Congress will be looming. Now is the time for everyone who feels strongly about the access issue at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area to take action without delay.
The window of opportunity for 2012 is closing fast. If you've not contacted your Senators or the Senate committee members previously, you still have time to make a difference. If you have contacted them in the past, you must reinforce your earlier comments with one last attempt to influence their position and actions.
We ask you to contact your Senators and the members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee as quickly as possible in hopes that a Committee markup of S. 2372 and ultimately a full Senate vote can occur shortly after the Senate reconvenes.
Members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee are listed at http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/members .
You can contact the Senators using one or more of the following methods:
- Some Senators have public email addresses but most require the use of contact forms managed through their web sites. A directory of Senator email addresses does not exist, but online contact forms can be accessed using the following links.
- Use the following address:
The Honorable (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator (Name);
- Find phone number on the Senator's website, or call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and a switchboard operator will connect you.
The following letter has been sent on behalf of CHAPA to the Committee chairman and its members. It, plus articles found on www.islandfreepress.org , www.obpa.org, www.ncbba.org, may help you formulate your thoughts before you communicate with the Senators. However, timing is critical since the recess will soon be over and the time available for action during the remainder of the year is limited. We ask that you quickly take action.
The Honorable Jeff Bingaman
Chairman, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Committee Chairman Bingaman;
S.2372 - Action Requested
I write this letter to urge you and your Senate colleagues to take all steps necessary to move S. 2372, Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act, out of the Energy and Natural Resources committee to the full Senate, and to achieve its passage without delay before the end of the 112th Congress.
Today, August 27, begins the last week of the summer vacation season across America. For the visitors and residents of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it has been a summer of disappointment and frustration. New policies implemented this year by the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area severely reduced beach access options in ways many thought would never happen. Access restrictions threaten to forever prevent users from activities traditionally enjoyed on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. Miles and miles of beach have been off limits for most or all of this summer's tourist season including areas most popular with visitors since decades before the Seashore's inception. Many of these miles are effectively closed to human use year round as a result of these new policies. As the full impact of the new policies are understood, visitors have reduced their stays, some vowing not to return in the future placing additional hardships on the local economy.
You have the power to change this terrible situation through the passage of S. 2372. This bill will require a management plan that balances access and resource protection without impairment to either. It will establish requirements that will prevent similar problems in the future as the management plan evolves with the ever-changing seashore. And, it will accomplish this change at a lower implementation cost to taxpayers, improved visitor experiences, and no negative impact to the local economy. North Carolina Senators Kay Hagan (D) and Richard Burr (R) introduced this bill and it is cosponsored by Senator Joe Manchin (D), West Virginia. Testimony on this bipartisan bill was heard by the National Parks subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 27, 2012.
S. 2372 is a companion bill to H.R. 4094. H.R. 4094 was included as a component of H.R. 2578 which passed in the House and was sent to the Senate on June 19, 2012. The Senate now has the opportunity to correct the problems which exist with the current management plan before another year of disappointment, frustrations and hardships.
John Couch, President OBPA
P.O. Box 1355
Avon, NC 27915