Controversy over Roads in Death Valley
Over the last years, some western states and countries alleged that hiking in streambeds was standards for constructed highways that can be used by citizens based on the laws. The use of the road vehicle in Death Valley Park is a major controversy that needs to be addressed. The use of the vehicle in the park is a controversial issue that has been argued against by the conservation groups in the Park. The actions would lead to the damaging of the unique Canyons that include the waterfalls and the lush willows. The use of the road vehicles in the Death Valley not only affects the Canyons but also leads to the dumping of oils and other pollutants into the nearby streams. The drivers usually cut down plants within the streams of the rock to pull their vehicles to the nearby waterfalls (Ghimire and Michael 67).
Based on past cases, there have been a number of vehicles overturning into the waterfalls and steep terrains in the Death Valley. In 2000, a conservation group sued the land management agency for the failure of managing and evaluating the impact of off-road driving in the endangered wilderness. Following a settlement in 2001, the land management agency closes the route into the surprise canyons. However, in the recent past, there has been increased infiltration into the park that requires effective legislation. Therefore, the paper will seek to discuss the controversy underlying the use of road vehicles in Death Valley Park.
- Parties and Issues Description
There are parties engaged in controversial arguments. First, the parties moving the motion against the use of off-road vehicles include the National Parks Conversation Association, Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, and The Wilderness Society. The parties are determined to see that a law is imposed to limit the use of off-road vehicles in Death Valley. On the other side, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is involved in the effective management of land and the environment. Over the years, BLM has been seen to oppose the proposals to restrict roads into the Death Valley. In his defense, the BLM argues that the laws provide for the use of vehicles in certain sections of the parks, including the streambeds. The two parties seek to argue for their interest in the controversial issues of the use of off-road vehicles inside the park. The legal provisions that apply to the case are based on the relevant provisions that relate to the preservation of the parks and upholding freedom of choice for the people as they visit the parks for recreational purposes.
The underlying facts of the controversy are that the use of off-road vehicles in Death Valley causes harm to the environment. Based on the National Conservation Association, found out that the continued use of vehicles in the parks would lead to increased erosion and pollution of the plants and vegetation. It is a fact that the use of off-road vehicles in the national parks would cause adverse impacts on the parks. These adverse effects include encroachment of the water resources and other natural resources and the reduction of the beauty of the wilderness in the Death Valley (Newing 129). Therefore, there are clear facts that allowing off-road vehicles would cause substantial soil erosions and pollution of the waters.
There have been some part suits filed over the same controversy in the federal courts. The case sought to eliminate the use of off-road vehicles in the Surprise Canyons. The case came from the increased damage to the unique features of the park that including the waterfalls, cottonwoods, and lush willows. This relates to the need to protect the features from any hazards emerging from the increased use of the vehicles in the park. In 1994, congress permitted people to access the Death Valley using vehicles. The road was initially washed out by floods in 1984. In 1994, the 4wheel drive vehicles were allowed to cut with the stream beds and within the steep terrain, causing some vehicles to drive into the nearby streams.
A case was filed in 2000 by the conservation groups to sue the BLM for the failure to manage the impacts of the roads. The case was later settled in 2002 when the routes were closed to allow effective analysis of the effects of the off-road vehicles in the parks. It is claimed that the use of the off-road vehicles endangered the bird species the ‘Inyo California towhee.’ Currently, there is no pending suit on the controversy of using off-road vehicles in Death Valley. However, the facts of the situation would provide for a probable file suit. The suit by the conservation groups cannot be avoided by the BLM as there is substantial evidence of the adverse that emanate from the use of off-road vehicles in Death Valley (Pearce, Edward and Anil 127).
- Identification of the Law
Based on the case of the controversial off-road driving issue, the Clean Water Act is applicable. The Clean Water Act was amended from the 1972 provisions of Federal water pollution control. The act seeks to provide the basic frameworks for regulating the release of pollutants into streams and waters. The Death Valley evidenced cases of off-road vehicles driving close to the streambeds. In addition, there have been cases of vehicles overturning into the streams. This reveals the increased cases of water pollution in the Death Valley. Thus, the application of the Federal Clean Water Act would be helpful in managing and controlling the situation.
The federal Clean Water Act describes the situation in which the streams and waters in the vicinities are polluted. The case of allowing the vehicles to drive into the streams and steep terrains leads to the deposition of harmful oils and pollution of the streams. It is estimated that the water pollution agency handles 90 percent of its cases from the pollution of the streams. Thus, the implementation of the law in Death Valley would help in reducing the effects of pollution on the existing streams that support the vegetation and plants in the park. The Clean water act has been amended from the several provisions proposed in the past.
A section of the Clean Water Act deals with the deposition of hazardous wastes into the rivers. The requirement seeks to limit the amount of deposition that occurs in the Death Valley. The act also relates to the comprehensive environmental response to minimize the destruction of the nearby vegetation and canyons. Most significant, in 1987, the contents of toxic pollutants were imposed after the continued oil spills in the Exxon Valdez disaster. Thus, the clean water act would be applicable to the case in order to limit off-road driving that pollutes the streams with oil.
The State Department of Environment and Conservation is likely to be involved in the situation. The case will require the government to take the relevant measures in order to limit additional adverse effects in the Death Valley. The department of environment and conservation has the relevant talents and provisions to guide the preservation of land and parks. The department has the role to enhance the quality of life of the people by preserving the natural environment. More so, it should improve the quality of air, water, and land. In addition, the department is tasked with the role of developing relevant programs and initiatives that protects the health and environment improving the quality of life. The department has the relevant registrations and licenses to ensure that all lands and water are protected from any encroachments. However, it also considers the public opinion and involvement to manage the environment better. Thus, the State of Department of Environment and Conservation will be tasked with the duty to enforce the state and federal laws relating to the environment.
The state department of environment and conservation had relevant regulations that are established under the Environmental Conservation law. The regulations seek to integrate the proposed regulations and the public opinions. According to the Secretary of the State, the ECL has various regulations concerning the conservation of the parks. The Environmental conservation law seeks to permit the application for recreation and sporting activities. The permits are part of the regulations in use by the departments to control land access, waste, movements, and other major environmental concerns in the park. Sporting licenses help to allow for the management of the wildlife in Death Valley.
The department has also relevant requirements for registration of the pesticide administration in the parks. During a certain period, park management is required to apply pesticides to the vegetation in order to control diseases. The department has rules to control the commercial application of pesticides in the parks. Forest Tax LAW 480-a can be applied by the departments to manage the requirements for accessing the lands or setting up any structures including the roads. The law seeks to protect the eradication of endangered species of animals and plants. Thus, it calls for the commitment of the environmental agency to support the forests. This is pursuant to section 9-0713 of the environmental conservation law. In order to access quality life for forestland exemption, the persons were required to commit certain taxable items and obtain prior commitment and certifications. Therefore, the state department of environment and conservation has the relevant regulations to preserve land access in the parks.
There are major cases of the encroachment of the land by off-road vehicles in different parks across the world. The access to the land by the citizens often leads to controversial issues, in which the conservation agencies file suits and sanctions. In Fairfax county parks, the land management agencies allow the destruction of the wetlands and mature forests by the public during their visits. The park authority was concerned by the increased destruction of the forest until the conservation association groups filed suits to avoid the destructive encroachments (Kneese 43). There are still other major cases of the encroachment of the plans and land in the parks.
The application of the federal clean water act would not give a clear resolution to the pertinent issue in the case. This is because the Clean Water Act seeks to handle matters relating to the pollution of the waters and streams in the Death Valley. However, in the case of Death Valley, there is further destruction of vegetation and the natural scenery and beauty in the region. In order to resolve the case, the court should seek to integrate the federal clean water act and other environmental protection provisions into the environmental law (Newing 129). The facts of the case reveal that the off-road driving controversy will lead to the encroachment of the vegetation, including the canyons, and pollution of the waters. Thus, the integration of the environment would be appropriate in enhancing effective regulations for the cases.
Additional environmental laws can be applied, including the resource conservation act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Act. The Resource Conservation Act would help to manage the generation and treatment of the disposals to the streams. Thus, the resource conservation act is relevant in controlling the existence of waste in the rivers in Death Valley. Based on its provisions, the resource conservation act seeks to control the disposal of wastes in streams (Pearce, Edward, and Anil 120). Moreover, the Comprehensive Environmental Response Act controls the spills from the operations of the public. It will help to provide alternative ways to off-road driving in order to manage the oil spills into the streams. From a policy perspective, the outcome of the case would provide better results in the case. The court would provide alternative solutions restricting off-road driving in Death Valley. The outcomes are expected to be favorable in either way.
I had an interview with Alice Reynolds, the Deputy Secretary for law enforcement and counsel in California. Alice has wide expertise in land issues and environmental laws. Based on her arguments, the controversy of off-road driving in Death Valley was a major concern. She provides that relevant regulations should be imposed in order to restrict the pollution of the waters and destruction of the scenery in the park. Based on her reflections on the thriving effects of water pollution, she stated that it would eventually destroy the entire vegetation and scenery in the park (California Environmental Protection Agency, 2014). Therefore, it was fundamental to impose the relevant provisions to manage the disposal of wastes and the movement of people in Death Valley Park.
In summary, the off-road driving of vehicles in Death Valley is a major controversy based on its environmental impacts. The case came about from the increased damage to the unique features of the park that including the waterfalls, the cottonwoods, and the lush willows. The underlying facts of the controversy are that the use of off-road vehicles in Death Valley causes harm to the environment. Based on the national conservation association, found out that the continued use of vehicles in the parks would lead to increased erosion and pollution of plants. The federal Clean Water Act describes the situation in which the streams and waters in the vicinities are polluted. The case of allowing the vehicles to drive into the streams and steep terrain leads to the deposition of harmful oils and pollution of the streams. However, the application of the federal clean water act would not give a clear resolution to the pertinent issue in the case. Additional environmental laws can be applied including the resource conservation act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Act.
California Environmental Protection Agency (2014) CalEPA. Retrieved from http://www.calepa.ca.gov/About/Bios/Reynolds.htm.
Ghimire, Krishna B., and Michael P. Pimbert. Social change and conservation. London: Routledge, 2013.
Kneese, Allen V. Measuring the benefits of clean air and water. London: Routledge, 2013.
Newing, Helen, et al. Conducting research in conservation: Social science methods and practice. London: Routledge, 2011.
Pearce, David, Edward Barbier, and Anil Markandya. Sustainable development: economics and environment in the Third World. London: Routledge, 2013.