According to the Virginia Pilot, The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would remove new beach driving regulations at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The bill, which was combined with 13 others to form HR2578, will now head to the Senate, which has its own version introduced by North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan.
The House bill, introduced by North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones, passed 232-188. It would remove regulations put in place by the National Park Service in February and restore less restrictive rules enacted in 2007. Currently, roughly 18 miles of the 65-mile seashore are open for beach driving, and a permit is required to drive on the beach.
The National Park Service set the rules partially to ensure the safety of federally protected species that nest on the seashore. Locals and beach driving enthusiasts have opposed the rules, saying they hurt the local economy and unnecessarily restrict beach access.
In a similar note, President Obama released a statement today opposing Bill HR2578 saying it would be a setback, and "reverse course on the science-based National Park Service plan, developed after a lengthy public engagement process, that provides an appropriate balance of off-road vehicle access and protection of sensitive seashore areas in North Carolina".