12.04.14

Burr Applauds House Passage of Beach Access Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) applauds the House passage of H.R. 4435, a bill that includes legislation he authored known as the Preserving Public Access to Cape Hatteras Beaches Act (S. 486).  After successful bipartisan negotiations last year, an amended version of Senator Burr’s bill was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  With Senator Burr’s urging, the amended version of S. 486 was included as part of larger legislation that the House of Representatives passed today. The Hatteras legislation will help tourists and sportsmen gain access to North Carolina’s renowned Outer Banks beaches.  The legislation will set rules and parameters for the National Park Service (NPS) to abide by when they consider limiting citizen access to beaches, including off-road vehicle (ORV) access.

Senator Burr has long been an advocate of opening up North Carolina’s beaches to the public, while maintaining the wildlife and scenic beauty and began work on this legislation in 2008. Senator Burr’s hard work has led to ORV access finally being passed by the House and soon by the Senate.

“Interference from outside interest groups and Federal restrictions on beach access have crippled local businesses along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore for years – it has impaired the local community and its economy,” Senator Burr said.  “This House vote is a win for North Carolinians and tourists from around the country who wish to visit North Carolina’s scenic treasures. This has been a long journey that required compromise on both sides of the aisle in order to see it through. I feel confident that my Senate colleagues will swiftly pass this legislation and unlock the beauty of North Carolina’s shores.”

New parameters would direct the NPS to minimize buffers on protected areas and keep them in place for the shortest possible duration necessary, designate pedestrian and vehicle corridors around areas that are closed, coordinate with the State of North Carolina when establishing certain buffers, and allow for a public process when considering limiting access in special situations.  The agreement also directs the NPS to construct vehicle access points and roads as expeditiously as possible and report its progress to Congress within one year of the act becoming law.

Groups including the American Sportfishing Association and Congressional Sportsmen Foundation are supporters.