October 13, 2015
I was asked to keep remarks to under 5 minutes. I decided to focus my comments to Sen. Feinstein and Deputy Secretary Conner of the Interior Department. Although the audience was huge, I did not purposefully attempt to affect the entrenched opinions of the visiting public. Therefore, I delivered my message in 3 points:
1. I reminded Sen. Feinstein of my public presentation at same venue exactly a year ago where I pledged to her that I would work hard to get OHV leadership to support her then yet-to-be-introduced bill, and boasted this was indeed done. She replied publicly, "I thank you for that."
I then reminded her of her video conference with OHV leaders in July where we pledged to work hard to get her bill heard in committee, and to get Rep. Cook to introduce his version of the bill, and again boasted this was done. Again she replied, "And I thank you for that."
With that I challenged the notion that her bill was stalled and urged her to ask the President to slow his designation process so that Congress can act. I notes there was still a full year remaining in the 114th Congress, and apparently said:
“I feel like we’re not yet in the seventh inning stretch of the game,” Banis said. “We can have that meeting of the minds, and that melding of viewpoints, so we can get a bill through Congress to protect these lands for all of us, and for recreation.” See:
2. I then turned to Interior's Conner and urged that should there be a designation under the Antiquities Act, it must:
- specifically allow for hunting, rockhounding and OHV -- including for non-street legal vehicles, just as S. 414 does, and not leave this decision to a subsequent planning process;
- specifically protect the current designated route network as S. 414 does, and not merely rely on the enumerated boilerplate clauses from other proclamations leaving route designation to some future process.
3. Again turning to Interior's Conner, I urged that OHV be allowed direct stakeholder participation in the development of any proclamation, and not have us depend on others, i.e. the counties or the moderate environmental groups, to accurately represent OHV's interests.