Yellowstone National Park Under Siege from Snowmobiles
March 1, 2004
The Bush Administration once again has thumbed its nose at environmental protection. Judge Emmett Sullivan -- the same judge presiding over the Club's challenge to the Cheney Energy Task Force - has ordered the government to explain why it has disobeyed his prior order to stop allowing snowmobiles into Yellowstone National Park. In December, Sullivan sided with the Club and others and tossed out the Bush administration's new rule that would have allowed up to 1,100 snowmobiles to enter the park daily. Judge Sullivan reinstated the Clinton administration rule calling for a complete snowmobile ban beginning in winter 2004. The current controversy started when Judge Clarence Brimmer of the U.S. District Court in Wyoming -- the same judge who ruled against the Roadless Rule - issued a temporary injunction against the snowmobile ban in February 2004, and told the Park Service to develop new rules for the remainder of the winter season. The Park Service issued new rules immediately, allowing 780 snowmobiles to enter the park daily. Judge Sullivan said Bush administration attorneys should have come to him after Brimmer's ruling to receive clarification on what to do and chided them for a "nonchalant attitude of the government to a federal judge's order."
January 1, 2004
In late December 2003, the Club and its coalition partners won a huge victory in defense of Yellowstone National Park. For almost a decade, scientists studied the harmful impacts of heavy snowmobile traffic in Yellowstone, and the government ultimately decided to implement a gradual phase-out of snowmobiles in the park. All that changed after the Bush administration came into power and reversed course - issuing a decision to allow continued snowmobile traffic in the park. We filed suit, and the judge recognized the blatantly political decision for what it was. Taking the Bush administration to task for ignoring years of careful study, the judge decided in favor of protecting this national treasure.
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