Snowmobile groups file lawsuit to overturn Yellowstone ban
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Snowmobile makers and enthusiasts sued to end a ban on the machines in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
The groups filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday against the National Park Service, which announced the ban last month to protect the parks’ natural beauty and wildlife.
”The federal government’s decision is badly flawed. There is no basis in fact or law to totally eliminate snowmobile use,” said Ed Klim, president of the International Snowmobiling Manufacturers Association.
The ban is expected to cost the region $16.5 million and about 400 jobs.
The group said snowmobiles do not disrupt wildlife and emit less pollution than the hundreds of thousands of vehicles that pass through the park each summer.
In a report released last year, the Park Service found that snowmobiles produce nearly all the air pollution in Yellowstone. Snowmobiles emit 100 times as much carbon monoxide and 300 times as much hydrocarbons as automobiles.
John Catton, a spokesman for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition conservation group, called the lawsuit unfortunate but not unexpected. He said the snowmobile ban is ”rooted in science, law and extensive public comment.”
Recreational use of snowmobiles was already limited at nearly all national parks, recreational areas and monuments. Teton and Yellowstone had been exempt.
Snowmobile use will be phased out beginning next year and will be banned by winter 2003-04. The only motorized, recreational access to the parks will be by snow coaches, which usually carry eight to 10 passengers.
On the Net:
International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association: http://www.snowmobile.org
Greater Yellowstone Coalition: http://www.greateryellowstone.org
National Park Service: http://www.nps.gov
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