National and Regional News
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has asked President Obama to bypass Congress to create three national monument areas in California encompassing more than 1 million acres between Palm Springs and the Nevada state line. The senator wants the president to invoke the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make the designations for Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains. Two bills that she introduced during the past six years have not moved through Congress.
The AMA opposes the effort to bypass Congress on this issue. The AMA supports the creation of new national monuments only when the area meets the criteria for designation laid out in 16 U.S.C. § 431, which requires any monument to be “confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
YUMA, Ariz. – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Yuma Field Office has announced that maps of the Imperial Hills Travel Management Plan are available for review. Comments on the plan are due by the close of business on Oct. 12. Comments may address any issues that should be addressed in the Imperial Hills TMP Environmental Assessment.
Maps may be viewed on the BLM website at www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/travel_mgmt/ih.html. The Imperial Hills TMP area is between Hidden Shores RV Park and the community of Martinez, with the Colorado River marking the western boundary and the Yuma Proving Ground on the east.
Comments should be sent to Ray Castro, BLM Yuma Field Office, 2555 E. Gila Ridge Road, Yuma, AZ, 85365; or through email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SILVER CITY, N.M. – The Gila National Forest’s Travel Management Plan was released in June 2014 and the decision was upheld by the Southwestern Deputy Regional Forester in September 2014. The decision will be implemented when the motor vehicle use map is completed.
Forest Supervisor Adam Mendonca said the delay in implementation is due to the amount of administrative and field work needed to complete the map, including natural resource surveys and coordinating with the state Historic Preservation Office.
The goal is the implement of the rule in January 2016 to provide time to complete the map, erect signs, update databases, post information on the forest website and notify forest users. Until implementation occurs, there are no changes from the 2014 rules and guidelines.
HUGER, S.C. – The U.S. Forest Service has released the Francis Marion National Forest’s Draft Revised Land and Resource Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The plan will guide management of nearly 260,000 acres for the coming 10 to 15 years.
Francis Marion is the first national forest in the country to release a draft plan and DEIS under the Forest Service’s 2012 Planning Rule. The next step in the process is a 90-day public comment period, which began Aug. 14.
Copies of the documents are available at www.fs.usda.gov/detail/scnfs/landmanagement/planning/?cid=stelprdb5393142. Comments may be submitted electronically to bit.do/FMPlanComments or by mail to Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests, Francis Marion Plan Revision, 4931 Broad River Road, Columbia, S.C. 29212.
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – The National Park Service has installed a sound meter at Grand Teton National Park to monitor real-time sound levels as part of the park’s noise reduction program.
Measurements include sound from vehicles, construction work, maintenance activities and other park operations. The meter displays the sound level in green, yellow, red or black to alert people to the sound being emitted.
In addition to the meter monitoring, park officials are providing visitors with information about ways to reduce the impact of their vehicles.
The roadside meter is on loan from the National Park Service’s Natural Sounds Program office and will be moved around the park for the rest of the summer.
EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has implemented additional fire restrictions on all public lands managed by the Mother Lode Field Office, including Nevada, Yuba, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Sacramento, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Sutter and Mariposa counties.
The restrictions affect about 230,000 acres and were put in place because of extremely dry conditions. They include no operation of internal combustion engines, except on maintained roads; no open fires, camp fires or open-fire stoves, except lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel; no welding or use of any torch; no use of explosives, except by special permit; and no fireworks.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House Joint Resolution 89 would ask President Barack Obama to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adhere to the Congressional standards for Renewable Fuel Standards blending rules. The resolution is intended to demonstrate legislative support for the state’s corn growers and ethanol industry. The EPA has recommended RFS blending rules for 2014, 2015 and 2016 that fall below the Congressional mandates, but still significantly increase the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.
RALIEGH, N.C. – H.B. 6 would define an autocycle as a three-wheeled motorcycle that has a steering wheel, pedals, completely enclosed seating and other features, but that does not require the operator to straddle the seat, but which otherwise is manufactured to meet the federal safety requirements of a motorcycle. Autocycle drivers would not need a motorcycle license. The requirement for a completely enclosed seating area excludes the Polaris Slingshot, leaving that vehicle in the motorcycle category.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A $100 additional fine for distracted drivers pulled over for a separate violation is part of S.B. 146, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati).
The bill’s provisions would apply to anyone found to be using a handheld electronic communications device or “engaging in any activity that is not necessary to the operation of a vehicle and impairs … the ability of the operator to drive the vehicle safely.”
In lieu of paying the fine, the driver may attend a safety course for distracted drivers. The bill has passed the Senate.
HARRISBURG, Pa. – H.B. 471 would remove the requirement that gasoline offered for sale in the state contain a percentage of ethanol. Under existing law, all gasoline sold in the state must contain at least 10 percent cellulosic ethanol by volume. The bill passed the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on a 23-3 vote. It was next to be heard by the Appropriations Committee before a vote by the full House.
TOOLE, Utah – China-based Mitime Investment and Development Group paid $20 million for the Miller Motorsports Park, with the intention of continuing operations and improving the facility.
The property became available when Larry H. Miller Group of Companies did not renew its lease on the 511-acre property.
Mitime is a subsidiary of Geely Group of Companies, the largest independent automotive group in China.
EAST TROY, Wis. – Erik Buell Racing’s remaining assets were bought by New Jersey resident Bruce Belfer, who says he intends to restart motorcycle production with Erik Buell at the helm.
Belfer, owner of Atlantic Metals Group LLC, paid $2.25 million for EBR’s machinery, inventory and other manufacturing assets in a court-supervised sale on Aug. 5. There were no other bidders.
HMCL Americas Inc. and HMCL NA, Inc. ─ both wholly owned subsidiaries of Hero MotoCorp Ltd. ─ paid $2.8 million for EBR’s intangible assets and intellectual property, including its technology and consulting operation.
When EBR filed for protection from creditors in April under Wisconsin’s Chapter 128, the company listed liabilities of $20.4 million and assets of $20.8 million.
MAGDEBURG, Germany – Schuberth Air & Acoustics Lab is the new wind tunnel facility built to test the aerodynamics of Schuberth’s motorcycle and Formula 1 helmets.
The company has operated a wind tunnel in Braunschweig, Germany, for more than 30 years, but decided to move the testing to a new facility at Schuberth’s main campus.
The new facility allows Schuberth to determine how user comfort is affected by changing weather, including temperature and humidity.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio – The 2015 AMA Land Speed Grand Championship, scheduled for Aug. 29-Sept. 3 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah, was canceled due to poor conditions on the salt flats.
“Over the past year, we have all been working toward the goal of racing motorcycles at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and it is always our intent to run the premier motorcycle land speed racing event at Bonneville,” said Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials event manager Delvene Manning. “However, we are always subject to Mother Nature to provide us with good conditions that we all dedicate our time and resources to.”
The Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials, the AMA Land Speed Grand Championship, is the premier motorcycle land-speed racing event in the world. This AMA-sanctioned event, which also includes Fédération Internationale de Motocylisme recognition, offers competitors the opportunity to clinch AMA national and FIM world records aboard machines from 50cc mini-bikes to 3,000cc.