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112th Congress                                           Rept. 112-526,

                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
PRESERVING ACCESS TO CAPE HATTERAS NATIONAL SEASHORE RECREATIONAL AREA 
                                  ACT

                                _______
                                

 June 15, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 4094]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4094) to authorize pedestrian and motorized 
vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore 
Recreational Area, and for other purposes, having considered 
the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommend that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 4094 is to authorize pedestrian and 
motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore 
Recreational Area.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    H.R. 4094 directs the Secretary of the Interior to manage 
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area in accordance 
with the Interim Protected Species Management Strategy/
Environmental Assessment issued by the National Park Service 
(NPS) on June 13, 2007.
    Authorized in 1937, Cape Hatteras National Seashore 
Recreation Area now covers 30,350 acres. In 2007, the NPS 
instituted an Interim Management Strategy to govern off-road 
vehicle (ORV) use at Cape Hatteras. The access restrictions it 
contained were much more limiting than visitors and local 
residents were accustomed, but there was general agreement that 
the strategy was functional.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological 
Opinion finding that Interim Management Strategy would not 
jeopardize any Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species. 
However, litigious interest groups sued the NPS over the 
adoption of the Interim Management Strategy and, in April 2008, 
the court approved a settlement that resulted in a consent 
decree establishing new, more restrictive rules on ORV use at 
Hatteras until a new final rule could be crafted. That final 
rule, which is even more restrictive than the consent decree, 
went into effect in March 2012.
    Local businesses have reported significant economic losses 
and expect to lose more business as the season continues. ORVs 
have long been used to access the park by fisherman and other 
visitors. By restricting long sections of the beach from ORV 
use and leaving no alternatives, NPS has effectively shut down 
more miles of the park than the NPS represents.
    H.R. 4094 would suspend the consent decree and the final 
rule and reinstate the Interim Management Strategy. It lays out 
a list of criteria that the Secretary of the Interior would 
have to meet to institute access restrictions greater than 
those in the Interim Management Strategy.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 4094 was introduced on February 28, 2012, by 
Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC). The bill was referred 
primarily to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in 
addition to the Committee on the Judiciary. Within the 
Committee on Natural Resources, the bill was referred to the 
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. On 
April 27, 2012, the Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill. On 
June 7, 2012, the Full Natural Resources Committee met to 
consider the bill. The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests 
and Public Lands was discharged by unanimous consent. No 
amendments were offered and the bill was then adopted and 
ordered favorably reported to the House of Representatives by a 
roll call vote of 24-18, as follows:


            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 4094--Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore 
        Recreational Area Act

    H.R. 4094 would require the Cape Hatteras National Seashore 
in North Carolina to be managed according to the Interim 
Protected Species Management Strategy/Environmental Assessment 
(Interim Strategy) issued by the National Park Service (NPS) on 
June 13, 2007, until the NPS issues a new final rule. Under the 
bill, that final rule cannot include additional restrictions on 
pedestrian or motorized access to the seashore beyond those in 
the Interim Strategy unless the restrictions are based on peer-
reviewed science and the public has had the opportunity to 
review and comment on them.
    H.R. 4094 would prohibit implementation of the existing 
final rule entitled ``Special Regulations, Areas of the 
National Park System, Cape Hatteras National SeashoreOff--Road 
Vehicle Management'' and would invalidate the consent decree 
concerning use of off-road vehicles at the seashore, which was 
filed on April 30, 2008.
    Based on information provided by the NPS, CBO estimates 
that the legislation would have no significant impact on the 
federal budget over the 2013-2017 period. Management of the 
seashore under the Interim Strategy would not require 
significant changes in NPS operations regarding the seashore.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4094 would affect direct 
spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Under the 
existing final rule, the NPS will charge fees (which are 
recorded in the budget as offsetting receipts) for off-road 
vehicle permits. Those fees would be available to be spent at 
the seashore without further appropriation. Those fees are not 
a part of the Interim Strategy; therefore, under the bill, the 
NPS would not collect or spend those fees. CBO estimates that 
the net impact of that change would not be significant. 
Enacting H.R. 4094 would not affect revenues.
    H.R. 4094 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Martin von 
Gnechten. The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. Based on 
information provided by the National Park Service, CBO 
estimates that the legislation would have no significant impact 
on the federal budget over the 2013-2017 period.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to authorize pedestrian and motorized 
vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore 
Recreational Area.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                          House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                     Washington, DC, June 14, 2012.
Hand-delivered.

Hon. Doc Hastings,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.
    Dear Chairman Hastings: I am writing with respect to H.R. 
4094, the ``Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National 
Seashore Recreational Area Act,'' which the Committee on 
Natural Resources reported favorably on June 7, 2012. As a 
result of your having consulted with us on provisions in H.R. 
4094 that fall within the Rule X jurisdiction of the Committee 
on the Judiciary, I agree to discharge our Committee from 
further consideration of this bill so that it may proceed 
expeditiously to the House floor for consideration.
    The Judiciary Committee takes this action with our mutual 
understanding that by foregoing consideration of H.R. 4094 at 
this time, we do not waive any jurisdiction over subject matter 
contained in this or similar legislation, and that our 
Committee will be appropriately consulted and involved as the 
bill or similar legislation moves forward so that we may 
address any remaining issues in our jurisdiction. Our Committee 
also reserves the right to seek appointment of an appropriate 
number of conferees to any House-Senate conference involving 
this or similar legislation, and asks that you support any such 
request.
    I would appreciate a response to this letter confirming 
this understanding with respect to H.R. 4094, and would ask 
that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be 
included in the Congressional Record during floor consideration 
of H.R. 4094.
            Sincerely,
                                               Lamar Smith,
                                                          Chairman.
                                ------                                

                          House of Representatives,
                            Committee on Natural Resources,
                                     Washington, DC, June 14, 2012.
Hon. Lamar Smith,
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary,
Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your letter regarding H.R. 
4094, the Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore 
Recreational Area Act. As you know, the Committee on Natural 
Resources ordered reported the bill on June 7, 2012. I 
appreciate your support in bringing this legislation before the 
House of Representatives, and accordingly, understand that the 
Committee on the Judiciary will forego action on the bill.
    The Committee on Natural Resources concurs with the mutual 
understanding that by foregoing consideration of H.R. 4094 at 
this time, the Committee on the Judiciary does not waive any 
jurisdiction over the subject matter contained in this or 
similar legislation. In addition, should a conference on the 
bill be necessary, I would support your request to have the 
Committee on the Judiciary represented on the conference 
committee. Finally, I would be pleased to include your letter 
and this response in the bill report filed by the Committee on 
Natural Resources, as well as in the Congressional Record 
during floor consideration, to memorialize our understanding.
    Thank you for your cooperation.
            Sincerely,
                                              Doc Hastings,
                                                          Chairman.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    Cape Hatteras National Seashore, on the Outer Banks of 
North Carolina, includes more than 30,000 acres of barrier 
islands. Established in 1937 and managed by the National Park 
Service (NPS), Cape Hatteras is the nation's first national 
seashore.
    In 2007, the NPS completed an interim environmental review 
to assess whether motorized vehicle use on the beaches was 
endangering public safety or impacting threatened and 
endangered nesting shorebirds and sea turtles found in the 
Park. In 2008, the NPS was sued by groups alleging that the 
management plan put in place as a result of the 2007 process 
was woefully inadequate to protect those species.
    Parties to the lawsuit, including the local counties who 
intervened in the case, eventually signed a consent decree 
providing for temporary management of the Seashore and 
protection for the imperiled species, until the NPS could 
complete a full environmental impact statement and final rule. 
The final rule was published in January and became effective 
February 15 of this year.
    It is important to note that, despite the fact that the 
consent decree and final rule placed certain limits on 
motorized beach access, the numbers of park visitors, piping 
plovers and turtle hatchlings have all increased in recent 
years. Off-road vehicle use is still allowed in the park, 
albeit on fewer acres and at different times of the year.
    H.R. 4094 would overturn the new rule, revert Park 
management to the 2007 plan and limit the effectiveness of any 
future rule. The legislation flies in the face of sound 
science, responsible rule-making and legitimate efforts to 
balance the competing demands placed on the Seashore's 
resources. The bill represents Congressional micro-management 
of a specific unit of the National Park System to the detriment 
of the Park. H.R. 4094 is an unwarranted intrusion on behalf of 
small but aggressive segment of the public who demand expansive 
access for off-road vehicles regardless of the impacts.
    A far larger majority of the public supports the final 
rule; their wishes and the solid scientific work of the NPS and 
the courts should be respected. H.R. 4094 should be rejected.

                                   Edward J. Markey.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva.