Local Leaders Ask Congress To Restore Access To Hatteras Beaches

Capitol hill played host to a hearing on restoring access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore after the National Park Service restricted in mid-February to protect wildlife.

The hearing held by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands focused on Congressman Walter B. Jones' Bill HR- 4094 to allow people and vehicles back on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore recreational area.

Several testified in support of the bill including Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners Warren Judge, and the Chairman of the Outer Banks Preservation Association John Couch. They say it will bring back economic and recreation security for residents and visitors. Many have complained the restricted access is hurting tourism. The next step for the bill is to go to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

The strategy to restore foot and vehicle traffic was backed by a biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which found the traffic would not jeopardize the species of concern, namely piping plover and sea turtles.

The effort to undo the laws restricting beach access at Cape Hatteras National Seashore is in the spotlight today.

It's been a hot topic in the east, and a congressional hearing is planned for today on Capitol Hill, about a bill that would nullify the new rules at Hatteras.

State Senator Stan White says he supports the bill, because the access issues are creating economic issues for the families who live and work on Hatteras Island.

Supporters of restrictions say they protect the shoreline's animals and plants.

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