Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John Barrasso slammed the Obama administration’s threat to limit snow machine access to Yellowstone National Park at a Senate Energy Committee Hearing on Tuesday.
Barrasso believes Jarvis represents the extreme policies of the Obama administration. An administration that will put environmental ideology before the public interest.
Barrasso believes the philosophy of shutting the public out of our parks is deplorable and will be harmful to Wyoming and to parks nationwide.
National Park Service wants to limit snowmobile and snow coach access into Yellowstone National Park.
“The Obama Administration’s plan will roll back years of public input and court rulings. Visitors to Yellowstone will be robbed of reasonable and responsible access to the park,” stated Barrasso.
“The Administration plan will halve the number of visitors to Yellowstone. It will have a significant impact on Wyoming’s gateway communities.”
The National Park Service move will leave small recreational businesses around Yellowstone in limbo. The proposed limits are below what was recommended by the Park Service less than two years ago.
Partial Transcript of Energy Committee Hearing:
Barrasso: The New York Times had an editorial last week and it said that there shouldn’t be any access by snow machines in Yellowstone Park, period, so you support snowmobile access to Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks, is that what I hear you say?
Jarvis: At this point I cannot commit one way or the other. I don’t know the details of this, but I do commit to winter use and winter access and a sustainable decision; one that can provide continuity and planning for the gateway communities and for the Park itself.
Barrasso: Well, planning if you say there’s no snowmobiles, I mean, that’s an absolute answer, but that’s not the one that anybody in Wyoming is looking for. So when you say you’re committed to winter access I want to know that you’re committed to winter access for snow machines in Yellowstone Park.
Jarvis: As I say, we have litigation in this case. We have two dueling courts, we have to do an interim rule. Hopefully we can kick in immediately to do the environmental impact statement, the final rule, which will analyze the best available science, the working group that is out there, all of the stakeholders on a range of alternatives. But at this point it would be incorrect for me to make a commitment to one or the other. We have to go through the process, I think that is the key.
Barrasso: Well on November 17th of this last year, the National Park Service released a statement about winter use in Yellowstone, and this is the quote; “Monitoring data from the past four winters shows excellent air quality, few wildlife disturbances and reduced sound impacts,” the things that you just mentioned. “All were at fully acceptable levels,” air quality, wildlife, sound, “All were at fully acceptable levels, and below the levels of historic, unregulated use of the parks, which show that the limited use of guided and the best available technology snowmobiles has worked. So the science appears to support current management of the snowmobiles in the park.” Do you agree with that National Park Service statement of November 17th?
Jarvis: Absolutely, I think that all of those indicators have been…all of these programs that we have implemented as a system, as you have mentioned, have significantly improved, not only the quality of the environment in this case, but also the public experience. But what we’re trying to reach now is something that is sustainable into the future, applying all of those standards.