30 Jan 2011, 10:56am
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Park County and Wyoming fight for right to sue feds

By C.J. Baker, The Powell Tribune, January 27, 2011 [here]

Park County and the state of Wyoming are fighting for their right to sue the federal government over lowered snowmobile limits in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

The county and state are appealing a September decision by federal District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne that said they lacked the legal standing to challenge the National Park Service’s rules for winter use in the two parks.

“If anybody has standing, it’s Park County,” said Park County Commissioner Tim French in a Wednesday interview, adding later, “We should absolutely be allowed to argue our point of view in the court.”

Wyoming and Park County had challenged a 2009 Park Service decision which, in part, dropped Yellowstone snowmobile limits to no more than 318 commercially-guided trips per day — down from 720 in earlier years — and also lowered snowmobile levels in Grand Teton National Park.

The county and state argued the lower limits were environmentally unnecessary and would damage their tax base and tourism efforts, among other concerns.

However, siding with attorneys from the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association, an environmental group, Johnson found the state and county’s concerns of being harmed economically by lower snowmobile limits were “speculative, conjectural and hypothetical.”

Further, he said the state didn’t have the legal authority to sue on behalf of its citizens. Pointing to prior case law, Johnson wrote, “it is no part of its (the state’s) duty or power to enforce the rights of citizens in respect of their relations with the federal government.” … [more]

Thanks for the news tip to Julie Kay Smithson, Property Rights Research [here, here]



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