Most people have little trouble coming up with resolutions for the New Year, but it’s keeping them that turns out to be a challenge. I always resolve to exercise more, but as the months go by I find my intention doesn’t always turn into action.
Something we cannot ignore or forget is the issue of OHV safety. Our friends at the All-Terrain Vehicle Safety Institute have developed a set of 8 Golden Rule for ATV safety. To start 2018 out right, we want share with you these common sense rules and hope you and your family will decide to follow them as you head outdoors to enjoy some OHV recreation.
Similarly, the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association has safety rules for ROVs.
Simple rules, but rules that ensure we all can enjoy OHV recreation not only in 2018, but for years to come.
We have commented before about Secretary Zinke’s plans to relocate the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from Washington to somewhere in the western part of the U.S. His idea is beginning to pick up steam. At a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee, Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) embraced the idea of moving BLM to somewhere west of the Mississippi. During the hearing, Chairman Bishop released a letter he and five of his subcommittee chairmen signed calling for the relocation. Unless there is some unforeseen lawsuit blocking such a transfer, we see this happening sometime in 2018, along with a general reorganization of the Department of the Interior. Secretary Zinke has made it clear that he believes that the department can do more with fewer people. His FY18 budget proposal for BLM called for the reduction of more than 1000 jobs, reducing total employment from 9,411 to 8,349.
We expect a lot of opposition to these proposed moves, both on Capitol Hill and from various interest groups, but at the end of the day, the only real move taking place is one headed in a western direction. BLM employees had better start ordering the packing boxes. Soon there could be a lot of empty offices in the Interior Department Headquarters Building in Washington.
In the December newsletter, we gave a lot of coverage to the anticipated action by President Trump to reduce the size of both the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Well, on December 4th he did just that and as we surmised, lawsuits were immediately filed to block any action taken by the President. The lawsuits take the position that while the President has the authority to create a national monument under the under of the Antiquities Act of 1906, that act does not specifically give the Chief Executive the authority to modify previous declarations. And while factually this is correct, there is precedent for monument modification since previous Presidents have done so on numerous occasions.
Members of the Utah congressional delegation wasted little time in introducing legislation (H.R. 4532 and H.R. 4558) which mirrors the President’s boundary adjustments. We anticipate that these measures will move swiftly through the House in this session, but that the prospect for passage in the Senate is less likely. This could end up becoming a multi-year process.
The New Year means that a lot of issues will be considered that could affect access to public lands for OHV recreation. We hope you will continue to ride with us as we chart a course forward. Your active participation is of critical importance day after day.
Happy New Year!
Larry E. Smith
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
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