FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
DISTRICT COURT REJECTS ATTEMPT TO BLOCK BAN
ON PERSONAL WATERCRAFT IN NATIONAL PARKS
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas today denied a request by personal watercraft associations and users to stop the implementation of Department of the Interior regulations banning the use of personal watercraft in numerous National Parks throughout the United States.
Personal watercraft are small vessels, usually for a single rider, designed primarily for speed, maneuverability, and shallow draft. Because of these features, and the noise associated with operating them, the Interior Department determined that personal watercraft use in the Parks disturbed water fowl and other wildlife, increased pollution, and disrupted sensitive habitat. Consequently, Interior banned personal watercraft use in the National Parks except within areas determined to be suitable for their use based on environmental and safety considerations.
The plaintiffs sought to stop the regulation from going into effect by claiming that personal watercraft users were being arbitrarily singled out by the Interior Department, that Interior had not assessed the environmental impacts of the ban and that the ban would create congestion in other waters. In denying the request for a preliminary injunction, the district court held that the personal watercraft associations and users had produced "scant evidence" that banning the craft from the parks would result in increased environmental impacts elsewhere. The court further observed that "all of the environmental evidence from both parties" indicates that personal watercraft use is harmful to wildlife.
The case is captioned Roberts, et al. v. Mainella, Director of the National Park Service, No. V-02-22, and the decision was authored by Judge John D. Rainey.