From: “American Motorcyclist Association” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: May 13, 2010 10:22:52 AM PDT
To: “Larry Walker” <email@example.com>
Subject: AMA News & Notes – June 2010
Reply-To: “American Motorcyclist Association” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Legislative Assistant Sheila Andrews by e-mail at email@example.com.
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The AMA is calling for full disclosure on current National Monument designations that could affect as many as 13 million acres throughout the West. The call follows the limited release by the Department of Interior of only 383 out of more than 2,000 pages of internal documentation related to the consideration.
Recently, a markup in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources could have forced H.Res. 1254, which would require full disclosure, to the House floor. However, despite bi-partisan support, a motion to favorably report the measure was not agreed to by a vote of 20 yeas to 22 nays. In a separate motion, a voice vote agreed to report H.Res. 1254 without recommendation. That means the decision to bring the resolution to the House floor rests with Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.) and House leadership.
At the heart of the issue are numerous potential National Monument designations, which would make it easier to close the affected 13 million acres to responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation. The current effort draws on authority provided by the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President to exercise executive privilege to unilaterally designate national monuments without input from local officials and residents, or their congressional representatives.
Report shows motorcycling deaths dropped sharply in 2009. A just-released report shows that motorcycling fatalities nationwide dropped by at least 10 percent in 2009, which is the first decline in 12 years.
Based on preliminary data, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which represents the state highway safety offices nationwide, projects that motorcycling deaths declined from 5,290 in 2008 to 4,762 or fewer in 2009. The projection is based on data collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The report is based on a survey of GHSA members, which reported fatality numbers for their states. The GHSA notes that while data are still preliminary, most states have final fatality counts for at least nine months of 2009, giving GHSA confidence to predict that the death count will be down by at least 10 percent for the year.
While encouraging, only an in-depth study focusing on the causes of motorcycle crashes can pinpoint the reasons for the reduction. Such an effort is now underway: the Federal Highway Administration is overseeing a four-year, $3 million study at Oklahoma State University through the Oklahoma Transportation Center in Stillwater. The last major study that researched the causes of motorcycle crashes was issued in January 1981. Known as the “Hurt Report” after lead researcher (and AMA Hall of Famer) Harry Hurt of the University of Southern California, that study provided a wealth of data that has been used by organizations and individual motorcyclists to help keep riders safer on the road. But in the decades since, the traffic environment has changed enormously, prompting the AMA to advocate for a new study several years ago.
Full story and further details can be found at: http://www.amadirectlink.com/news/story.asp?id=1918
Industry urges U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to avoid a rush to judgment on a pending decision regarding the use of E15 fuel. The Auto Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute urged EPA to delay action on the agency’s proposal to allow higher levels of ethanol in gasoline. Higher levels of ethanol have not been proven safe or effective according to industry projections based on preliminary results of testing introduced at a meeting of the Mid-Level Ethanol Blends Research Coordination Group.
In addition to government funds, the auto and oil industries have spent more than $6 million over the last two years testing engine performance and durability of higher ethanol fuels, as well as testing storage and dispensation of fuels with 15 percent ethanol (E15). Currently, fuels are allowed by EPA to contain only up to 10 percent ethanol (E10).
Annual Motorcyclist Advisory Council survey launched. The Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) to the Federal Highway Administration has made recommendations to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and his predecessors on various topics, including items for the federal highway appropriations bill and encouraging the use of motorcycles as a form of congestion relief. Of special significance was the creation and approval of the yearly Motorcyclist Road Conditions Survey.
The purpose of the survey is to better communicate to the MAC, road construction engineers and transportation safety officials the specific needs of motorcyclists that should be considered when developing new roadways or altering existing routes.
Access the survey at http://tinyurl.com/ykbqsr6
Washington, D.C.: A Congressional hearing on a proposed law that could end the sales ban on youth-model dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) was conducted on Thursday, April 29, 2010. The hearing on the proposed bill, the “Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act” (CPSEA), was held by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“We are encouraged that Congress seems to be taking the concerns of AMA members and the motorcycling community seriously,” said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “We are seeking answers to questions that we raised earlier in the week about language in the bill, but we remain cautiously optimistic that our concerns will be addressed.”
The AMA identified its concerns in an April 28 letter addressed to Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Ranking Member Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.).
Source and full story: AmericanMotorcyclist.com/news/story.asp?id=1926.
Colorado: Detailed maps depicting the controversial Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal for Eagle and Summit counties are available to the public at local libraries and the Colorado Mountain College Campus in Edwards.
The package of maps includes the overview of the entire proposal, and close-up depictions of the individual proposal areas. Comment sheets and information sheets about the proposal and Wilderness are available with the maps.
The Hidden Gems Wilderness Proposal for Summit and Eagle counties was submitted to Colorado’s congressional delegation on March 31. It seeks Wilderness designation for over 243,000 acres of public lands managed by the White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management.
Maine: Signed into law April 12 by Governor John Baldacci, House Paper 1170, authored by Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess (R-Cumberland), prohibits a motor vehicle exhaust system from exceeding 62 dB(A) at a distance of 50 feet or greater in an area designated as a quiet zone.
Maryland: House Bill 676, sponsored by Delegates James Malone, Jr., (D-Arbutus) and Benjamin Kramer (D-Montgomery County), authorizes the use of certain auxiliary lighting on motorcycles. The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and was delivered to Governor Martin O’Malley for consideration.
Senate Bill 189, sponsored by Senator Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel County), authorizes the Motor Vehicle Administration to suspend for up 180 days the license of a person who is convicted of a moving violation that contributed to a fatal motor vehicle crash. Voted unanimously by both the House and Senate, the bill now goes to the Governor for consideration.
Missouri: House Bill 2421, sponsored by Rep. Sally Faith (R-St. Charles), would require every applicant for a motorcycle license or endorsement to show proof of successful completion of a motorcycle training course approved by the Department of Public Safety.
New York: Senate Bill 7302, known as the New York State Consumers’ Right to Repair Act, would require motor vehicle manufacturers to make available to vehicle owners, repair shops and the department of motor vehicles the necessary information to diagnose, service or repair a vehicle. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens).
Senate Bill 7385, sponsored by Sen. William Larkin, Jr. (R-Cornwall-on-Hudson), would require a motorcycle to be operated with both wheels on the ground at all times, except in circumstances beyond the operator’s control.
Pennsylvania: House Bill 590, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Markosek (D-Monroeville), would permit a motorcyclist or bicyclist, after coming to a full and complete stop, to proceed with caution through an intersection controlled by a traffic-actuated signal if the detection system fails to recognize the motorcycle or bicycle.
New Waverly, Texas: Individual trail users and recreation user groups have formed the Sam Houston Trail Coalition. Located within an hour of Houston, the 161,154-acre Sam Houston National Forest is surrounded by Montgomery, Walker, Grimes, and San Jacinto counties. The coalition will work closely with the U.S. Forest Service to plan, develop and maintain a comprehensive and sustainable trail network for diverse outdoor recreation while protecting natural resources and educating the public accordingly. Immediate objectives are development of a Master Trail Plan and working together to secure funding and volunteer support to construct, use, and maintain the trail system.
Those seeking more information are urged to attend the upcoming Sam Houston Trail Coalition meeting on May 22, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the U.S. Forest Service office, 394 FM 1375 West in New Waverly. Progress-to-date on membership applications and by-laws will be discussed and election of the first Board of Directors is anticipated. While a website is being developed, information will be available on Facebook at the Sam Houston Trail Coalition page, through the Yahoo group SHTrails.
Utah: A new eminent domain law authorizes seizure of some of the federal government’s vast land holdings. In March, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a law authorizing the use of eminent domain to capture some of the millions of acres that the federal government owns. The law was tailor-made to provoke a lawsuit, possibly reaching the US Supreme Court, and to inspire other Western states to enact similar legislation.
While it’s unusual for eminent domain to involve the taking of federal lands, this law is a byproduct of many state resident’s frustrations. The federal government controls more than 60 percent of the state’s lands, thus dictating whether land can set aside for preservation or can be accessed for mineral deposits.
What’s more, a recently leaked Interior Department memo suggests that two more sites in Utah could be potential national monuments, which would put them off limits to any development. That set off a firestorm of bipartisan criticism from lawmakers who said the administration was on the verge of orchestrating a massive and secretive federal “land grab.”
Source and full story: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0430/Utah-uses-eminent-domain-to-seize-land-of-Uncle-Sam
AMA Government Relations News & Notes is a monthly service compiled and edited by the AMA Government Relations Staff to keep motorcyclists informed of happenings around the world. We welcome your news & views. Please submit all material to Sheila Andrews, Legislative Assistant, 101 Constitution Ave., NW Suite 800W, Washington, DC 20001; fax (202) 742-4304 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.