Hook Line and Sinker

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Re: Hook Line and Sinker

Post  Frank Folb Jr on May 20th 2008, 2:50 am

He is helping us in many ways!!

Frank Folb Jr

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lettter to Island Free Press by Mike Berry (a must read!)

Post  hatteras on May 19th 2008, 11:44 am

This article came from under letters and commentary. It really says it all. Mr Berry's credentials should be enough for any educated person no matter what side they are on, if they were to be honest, would see what is going on is wrong. If they say it doesn't, they are only lying to themselves! I really feel we should see if this gentleman would be willing to help us in court. He presents the issues with factual information and not biased. He is what you would call an expert witness!
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Guest Column….ORV rulemaking was out of public sight,
but the settlement is very visible

By MIKE BERRY


I want to thank the Island Free Press for keeping this ORV regulation and beach closure issue in full public view. I also want to thank those citizens, attorneys, county officials, and civic leaders who worked tirelessly these many weeks to preserve public access to the shores of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore by way of motor vehicle. No one ever said the law is fair, but all citizens have the right to equal treatment and respect under the law and to the right of public participation.

I have never seen anything like this in my 40-year career as a public health environmental scientist, manager, and educator. I have read the pending consent decree, which still must be approved by the federal judge overseeing the case, three times and still cannot believe that a federal court would consider such an order without public comment.

This settlement is an environmental regulation ordered by the court without public review and comment, with no consideration of economic impact and with no hard look at the scientific basis for numerous technically related requirements found in the document. Yet, this agreement will significantly change our way of life and access to the seashore.

From my point of view, this is a classic example of how citizens in an open, free society lose their rights to participate in the business of their government. This is certainly not what I and others fought for in Vietnam 40 years ago. In fact, it does not get much more totalitarian than when a single federal court gives exclusive decision-making rights to a small number of well-financed environmental activists and special-interest lawyers to dictate how the general public and local community will access public land, in this case Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which has a tradition of usage rights, including the right to access the beach with a motor vehicle.

The environmental activists’ lawyers do have privileges that most citizens do not enjoy. They have a license to practice law, participate, and be heard in court. As officers of the court they have a special privilege of talking directly to a very powerful federal judge who can cause significant events to occur, like a beach closure that affects us all.

This litigation is less about species protection and more about ORV restriction.

There has been no opportunity for public participation, comment, and input with regard to this new ORV regulation. For any environmental regulation issued by the federal government, citizens have the right of public review and comment as provided by the Federal Administrative Procedures Act. Under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, citizens also have a right to know about and attend federal government meetings, especially when those meeting involve special-interest organizations trying to influence the government. Under the Freedom of Information Act, citizens have a right to obtain all unclassified information, such as scientific information and correspondence with special-interest parties, that is held by the federal government

There has been no public discussion and review of economic impact with regard to this settlement. The widely referenced 2003 Vogelsong Study (Cape Hatteras National Seashore Visitor Use Study, August 2003) has been used as the primary source of economic analysis for ORV regulation these past few years. Only in recent months has the federal government submitted that unpublished study for peer review. The findings of that peer review have not been disclosed in advance of this consent decree. Several months ago, the professional economist James C. Luizer clearly and rigorously demonstrated in open public comment that the study was greatly flawed in terms of its analytical methods, and biased in its survey questions and ORV counts. His comments, and those of many others, have been ignored by the federal government.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service submitted for public review a draft economic analysis that relied heavily on the to 2003 Vogelsong study, along with out-of-date census information and incomplete Small Business Administration data. That analysis was little more than an insulting “paper study.” The authors of that study, who reside in Cambridge, Mass., demonstrated no first-hand knowledge of the economic structure of the region they were hired to assess. There was no economic data collection field work. The study failed to recognize that virtually all businesses in the villages on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands are "small businesses," which are affected to some degree by reduced visits and park usage.

The federal courts have time and again ruled that before environmental regulations are promulgated by the government, there must be a hard look at the scientific basis for those rules. This is called the Hard Look Doctrine and is known to all students of environmental law. The science is called "environmental criteria."

For the federal government to justify the need for the rulemaking such as that found in the consent decree, there must be a basis in recognized and published science. In this consent decree, there is a clear and gross absence of scientific information underpinning all technical aspects of the rule.

Particularly, there is no peer-reviewed science to support the claims of species loss as the result of ORV traffic. That claim has not been verified. Environmental activists have claimed the loss of species due to ORV traffic on the beach through press releases. That is not the way credible science is presented or reviewed.

Given the significant economic consequences and beach access loss to the public prior to regulation, our federal government owes the public an answer to the following questions about the factual and scientific basis:
• What in totality are the criteria—studies, science and protocols used as the basis for the regulation and its technical content?
• Who are the specific authors of those science-based materials and who do they work for and represent -- government, universities, environmental activists groups, etc.?
• What is the area of expertise and what are their qualifications as researchers?
• Where can the public acquire the raw or original data used to create the criteria or science base?
• Were the studies on which the criteria based peer reviewed or published?
• Who were the independent peer reviewers?
• What protocols were used to collect the data and were they ever peer reviewed?
• Where, when, and how were the data collected?
• What quality control system and statistical analysis process was used in data collection and presentation?
Questions like these are always asked in open public science review before an environmental regulation as significant as this one is presented to the public.

Finally on top of all the insult delivered to the public by being sidelined and ignored by our government, there is the matter regarding legal fees. We, the hardworking, over-taxed citizens of this nation now have the pleasure of paying otherwise well-financed environmentalist lawyers our tax dollars for suing us. Their organizations are tax exempt. Oh, how great does it get!

This old citizen soldier will have a lot more to say about this in the days to come.



(Dr. Michael A. Berry served as any Army officer in Vietnam in the 1960s. After returning to civilian life he earned a Doctorate in Public Health and worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where as a senior manager and scientist, he served as the Deputy Director of National Center for Environmental Assessment at Research Triangle Park, N.C. During his 28-year career with EPA, he had extensive interactions with environmental organizations, local governments, the federal courts, U.S. Congress, universities world-wide, and institutions, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. For more than 20 years, Berry taught public health, environmental science, and business and environment courses at the University of North Carolina. He is currently a writer and part-time consultant, specializing in the evaluation of environmental quality and human health effects, environmental management strategies, and policy.)

hatteras
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Re: Hook Line and Sinker

Post  LT on May 16th 2008, 10:25 am

Sorry haven't checked the site in a couple. Is the Island press offered off the island va/obx? And which artticle is Mr. Berry in Hatteras ? Yeah theres a way to fight this but it takes time and money. Basicly we know where and who NPS wants to spend their money with,so it's up to finding an Erin Brockivich type who could work pro-bono for the common man/woman. You would think it would be an easy find with the amount of lawyers both in and out of state who use the same areas as you and I, but they are really catious of the toes they might stomp on.
Also I know all about your fears Hatteras I'm in construction too. Trust me this is like throwing gas on a fire just when our economy is already down. That's why its so difficult to uderstand their mentallity.

LT
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Re: Hook Line and Sinker

Post  va to obx on May 15th 2008, 1:31 pm

check out the island press they have one and it shows closures and areas open.

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Re: Hook Line and Sinker

Post  paul on May 15th 2008, 10:17 am

Is there a map online that shows the closures and what ramps are affected?

Thanks

paul
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you are so right!

Post  hatteras on May 14th 2008, 2:08 pm

Lt, I agree! I think it was one of the extremists! Did you see how nice the signs were laid down? In a nice row! It could've even been the wind. But more than likely a fellow NPS just doing his or her job!!!! I heard rumors that the NPS wanted to close Hatteras Village down after Isabel. They wanted the people to moved out of here and given to them. I thought then,"now wait, someone is just stressed w/ all the hardships from the storm and are getting carried away". But now, I wander... hmmm... it seems like the NPS is getting what they've been wanting for awhile. Why else would we have to pay for the special interest groups fees? that just makes no sense! It just seem a little too nutty! I don't get it! I understand we were backed into a corner and threatened of no use but it seems that is going to happen anyway!

I would really like to know is there anything we can do? Can we, as citizens, go to court without NPS, and fight for our rights? Someone needs to listen to our side of it. The economy is already messing with everyone's finances as is it now. My husband is in construction, as most know, construction here is really down. Lots of people in this line of work has had to move. We own our home, and were out of work last summer, completely! We did some remodeling on our home and refinanced our home after going through our credit cards and home equity line, thinking we could put equity into the house. According to our accountant we did, because we were lucky enough to break even. We didn't gain any equity however our house value did not go down. Which we were told was good. We still had quite a bit left in our house so we did a refinance that would cover all our outstanding debt. But now with all that is going on, it seems it is only amount of time before our house value goes down and building comes to a complete halt. I am already worried about this summer. Sure my husband can work out of town. We will survive but it sure sucks our dreams are slipping by. We bought this house thinking it would be a good investment. It seems it may not be the case! I know our situation could be summed up as "that's life; there are no guarantees" and we prob. would be in our situation without the beach closures but it sure speeds it up. But the main point is, I know there are lots and lots of people who are in the same situation as ours. It could be a fellow resident or the someone who built a vacation home to get away or to rent to make some money. People are not going to want to come if the best spots are closed! Why would they travel so far? The spots that are being closed are the most popular spots! It almost seems the extremists know this!

One person wrote on another site that if this island goes to shit in a hand basket then it could mean no new bridge, no constant road maintaince. This would save lots of money. Insurance companies could quite loosing so much money after storms. They wouldn't loose out when the property values went down. They could close us down and then a developer could come in a take over. I know for a fact that is what happened in Pirates Cove. I know the gentleman that once owned that property. He fought to develop there and was never allowed to. He was pushed and pushed to sell. When he did, guess what? it was developed. Hmmm... crazy! or is it!

I know I am rambling but I am truly worried about what all this means to my family and my community! Mr Berry seems to know what he is talking about. From what his background is in, he would be an expert on this matter and he says to worry. And from his article, I am! We need to go to court fighting for our rights with him as the lead witness for our cause! If you haven't read his article you need to! It tells it all like it is!

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Hook Line and Sinker

Post  LT on May 13th 2008, 6:51 pm

By now everyone who follows this site knows of the royal screwing we surf fisherman and ocean lovers have recieved at the hands of NPS DOW & the AS. They sold everyone a lie. They've ruined it for your children and your childrens children. There is no undoing whats been done now. As for the recent vandalism of signs and posts of course it was a bird freak geek. Yes, I know, I've resorted to a name classifacation of some individuals but ask if I care. Do they care of the countless monitary loss families and businesses are about to suffer in this region?, Hell no. Do they care of the imposition to people that have lived here their whole lives and have loved this area and the nature that actually does inhabit these shores?, Hell no. Thats how I know it was one of them that vandalised the southern area. That and the fact there were no foot prints or tire tracks inside the posted area(oh no I dont want to step on a bird while Im getting the area increased). Come on Mike Murray, oh I forgot you actually believe its one of us that did it. Trust me if it was one of us you will definatly see tire tracks.
So I guess its safe to assume that all the areas will have their buffers increased to their maximum expansion distances befor 4th of JULY if the DOW and the AS hurry. Right Mike ?. Because I'm sure the NPS will be dilligently on the look out for the vandals so they can root out the evil doers in our mits. Because afterall its the NPS thats in charge of this fine little slice of heaven on the OBX. Oh I'm sorry I ment to say the DOW & AS are in charge. does anyone else see this joke for what it is?. Come on people remember Life,Liberty,and the Persuit of Happiness how about that for a reason to sue DOW and the AS?. Every day our rights as Americans keep getting shaved and eroided by all types of groups pretending to be something they're not. Where the hell are these groups when hurricanes are berring down on their prechious fowels, I'll tell you where, they are covering their own asses, thats where. They use the threat of law suits and lawyers as a tactic of intimidation to make others jump to their agenda.
I was told along time ago that you could'nt sue the Federal Government, I guess the special intrest groups have changed that also. Had the NPS had the forsight they should've fought for our rights not some groups rights. Why do you think they(NPS) are paying the attorney fees?. Its because they are on the winning side. The side they care about. Thats a shame too because not so long ago the NPS was in jepordy of being scrapped for a lack of funding in the national budget. Remember Salvo campground anyone? I do, I've slept there many times untill it was shut for lack of funds. I've also seen the campgrounds closed at Cape Point, Frisco, and Oregon Inlet for lack of funds so be carefull who you make as your bed fellows NPS. It may come back to haunt you when you really need the publics help the most.

LT
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Re: Hook Line and Sinker

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