February 2021

Outdoor Recreation Community Responds to Preserve Access at Oceano Dunes

In response to California State Parks (PARKS) December 31, 2020 release of the Draft Public Works Plan (PWP) and Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), the outdoor recreation community collectively demonstrated their opposition to the concerning provisions within the proposal.

ARRA members swiftly took the call to action, which resulted in more than 600 members sending 1,815 messages to California State Parks, California Coastal Commission, and California OHMVR Commission. The state agencies also received a letter from ARRA expressing our opposition to the PWP.

ARRA also joined a letter comprised of 17 organizations representing businesses, associations, and enthusiast groups opposing provisions in the draft Oceano Dunes SVRA PWP. The outdoor recreation community also actively participated in the Feb. 18 Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission virtual meeting by providing written comments and public comment periods.

“The PWP proposes many alarming changes for OHV use that are not acceptable and, in fact, contradict California law,” said MIC President and CEO Erik Pritchard while addressing the OHMVR Commission meeting.. “Reducing access, ending OHV rentals, and even perhaps ending all OHV use at Oceano Dunes would have devastating consequences. The OHV industry and our associations have repeatedly offered to partner with state parks to enhance safety, training, and awareness of the sensitive areas within Oceano Dunes, and our outreach has been ignored. Part of OHMVR’s mission is to provide leadership statewide in the area of off-highway vehicle recreation and to ensure quality recreational opportunities remain available for future generations. Never has your leadership been more necessary than in fighting the proposed PWP, threatening the very existence of the Oceano Dunes SVRA,” Pritchard added.

A wide range of interest groups was represented during the public comment period, including local businesses, vendors, a diverse spectrum of recreationists, local/state/national OHV organizations, and the Powersports industry. Don Amador, AMA District 36 and Quiet Warrior Racing, Nicholas Haris, of American Motorcyclist Association, Amy Granat, Managing Director of California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA), and Jim Suty and Jared MacLeod, of Friends of Oceano Dunes, also provided comments during the OHMVR Commission meeting.

Thank you to ARRA members who submitted comments. If you have not submitted comments, you can still do so BEFORE MARCH 18th. 

If you prefer to submit comments individually, you may do so at:

California State Parks – Public comments can be submitted by email at OceanoDunes.PWP.EIR@parks.ca.gov or by mail to California State Parks, Strategic Planning and Recreation Services Division, 1725 23rd Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95816.

California Coastal Commission – Public comments can be submitted by email at OceanoDunesReview@coastal.ca.gov or by mail to 725 Front Street, Suite 200, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, Attn: Oceano Dunes.

Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission – Public comments can be submitted by email to Patricia Ureña, Chair, at ohvinfo.ohv@parks.ca.gov.

Senate Confirmation Hearings Continue with Biden Nominees

Transportation: On Jan. 21, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing to consider the presidential nomination of Pete Buttigieg to be Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation and on Feb. 2, the Senate confirmed Mayor Pete Buttigieg by 86-13.

Energy:  On Jan. 27, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held the confirmation hearing for Jennifer Granholm to be the Secretary of Energy. Granholm, former Governor of Michigan, served two terms as governor and worked closely with companies supplying the auto and powersports industry. Granholm said during her confirmation hearing, “I will focus on three missions: first, the security of America through the National Nuclear Security Administration and clean-up of our Cold War legacy, ensuring that we can protect our nation. Second, supporting the amazing scientific work done at the DOE’s 17 National Labs and other facilities across the country, including climate change and emissions reductions. And third, taking that research to scale, deploying it to create jobs for Americans.” The Senate confirmed Granholm on Feb. 25, by a vote of 64-35.

Interior: On Feb. 23, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to consider the Honorable Debra Haaland’s nomination to be the Secretary of the Interior. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), a first-term congresswoman, recently served as chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and served on the Public Lands Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. Rep. Haaland pledged to support President Biden’s agenda on clean energy and creating clean energy jobs across the country.  She recognized the important passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) and said she supports prioritizing GAOA funding projects as quickly as possible. If confirmed, Rep. Haaland would make history as the first Indigenous person to serve as a Cabinet secretary.

USTR:  On Feb. 25 the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Katherine Tai, United States Trade Representative (USTR). Tai worked in the USTR’s office from 2007 to 2014 and spent several years as the Chief Counsel for China trade enforcement. She then moved to work trade issues on the House Ways and Means Committee where she was named chief counsel in 2017. During the hearing, Tai pledged to work with allies to take on China and reform key international institutions, such as the WTO. The Section 301 tariffs that have raised the price of recreational goods are high on her radar, and she is aware of the many concerns that have arisen with the process. Additionally, she would use stronger labor and environmental standards, along with enforcement tools that are part of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), to ensure the agreement is adequately enforced.  If confirmed, Tai said she will ensure the USTR work with other agencies to craft a strategy to strengthen supply chains and get the economy back on track.  “I trust Ms. Tai’s judgment, we know the depth of her experience, and I’m pleased to support her nomination,” said Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR).

House Members Send Letter of Support on BLM Move to President Biden

Freshman Representative and member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Lauren Boebert (CO-03) wrote a letter, endorsed by 22 members of the House to President Biden and reiterated their support for the Bureau of Land Management headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado.  The letter pointed out the agency estimates it will save more than $2 million in the fiscal year 2021 in lease costs and $1.9 million salary savings annually based on locality pay. However, a recent media release from DOI shows BLM lost 287 employees or 87% of the 328 positions reassigned by the prior Administration from the bureau’s Washington.