Subcommittee Discusses PWC Rulemaking

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Resources Subcommittee on National Parks met in early May to discuss rulemaking procedures in several national park units that have banned personal watercraft use since 2002.
In March 2000, the National Park Service established regulations that generally prohibited personal watercraft use in most National Recreation Areas, Lakeshores and Seashores. At the same time, the park service established a two-year grace period for 21 park units where personal watercraft use was prevalent.
Each unit that seeks to reopen to PWC is required to complete a comprehensive scientific study of PWC impacts on the local environment and economy and prepare a rule allowing continued PWC use.
To date, 15 units have completed an environmental assessment, all of which conclude that PWC use should be allowed. Seven of these units have completed the rulemaking process and have welcomed PWC users back. There are still nine of the 21 units that have not issued regulations for personal watercraft use.
Several bipartisan members of Congress unanimously voiced concern that the NPS is taking too long to complete these rulemakings.
Mark Speaks, president of Yamaha Watercraft Group, told members of Congress that the personal watercraft industry is “not asking for special treatment — only for a level playing field.” He asked the members to “allow the environmental assessments and rulemakings to happen in a timely manner, and let sound science and facts — not bias — decide.”

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