WPR News
8:22 am
Tue September 16, 2008

Snowmobile debate takes strange twist

Cheyenne, Wy – A long-running feud about snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park has taken another turn. The disagreement is over how many snowmobiles to allow in Yellowstone. But the fight's not only between people who use snowmobiles and people who don't it's also between two federal judges. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C. threw out Yellowstone's winter plan, which would have allowed 540 snowmobiles in the park each day. Sullivan agreed with the environmental groups who brought the suit. He that number would cause too much pollution and noise. The same day that ruling was published, U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer was hearing arguments over the same policy in Cheyenne. But he was hearing from plaintiffs who want to increase the number of snowmobiles, like the Blue Ribbon Coalition. Jack Welch is a former president. "Maybe it wasn't a coincidence. Maybe Judge Sullivan wanted to show Judge Brimmer that he was going to take action before Judge Brimmer took action."
It wouldn't be the first time the two judges have gone against each other. For example, in 2003, Judge Sullivan (in Washington) reinstated a Clinton-era ban on snowmobiles and Judge Brimmer (in Wyoming) got rid of the ban shortly after. Yesterday, the Wyoming judge said he plans to give park officials temporary rules about what to do this winter. The park should have that by November first.