Don Amador

Travel Management - Good Idea or Big Mistake?


At the recent CA State Parks OHV Commission meeting in San Jose, Commission Chairman Gary Willard asked the Forest Service representative for an accounting of the more than 12 million dollars of “OHV Green Sticker” grant funds that were spent on the CA OHV route inventory and designation process (RID) circa 2002-2007.With more CA National Forests coming out with their DEIS’ – that are proposing to close a significant amount of historic OHV routes - there is a growing number of users asking if the CA RID process and its off-spring the National Travel Management Rule (TMR) have been “worth it” or if we are witness to a colossal mistake.In CA, the 12 million dollars for RID essentially dried up grant funding for trail maintenance on most Forests for almost 6 years. Many users, including yours truly, were convinced that RID was simply an elaborate scheme by the anti-access majority on the OHV commission to enact the closure agenda of the extreme preservationist movement. Remember, it was just that sort of agenda-driven decision-making by the OHV commission that resulted in the new CA OHV program in SB742. Also, a number of FS staffers privately told me that those who supported the now infamous CA RID process would rue the day the MOI was signed and a “forced RID/TMR” process was imposed not only on the users, but on understaffed Forests and Ranger Districts.

Click here to read more of Travel Management - Good Idea or Big Mistake? from "The General"

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John Stewart

SEMA Seeks Protection for Collector Cars and Parts

Under the draft legislation currently circulating in Congress, the program would last up to one year and potentially scrap one million older cars and trucks. The scrapped vehicle must get less that 18 mpg (15 mpg for heavy pick-ups and vans). The car buyer would receive a $3,500 voucher if they bought a new passenger car that was at least 4 mpg higher than the older vehicle, or a new pickup truck/SUV that was at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck. They would receive a $4,500 if the passenger car was at least 10 mpg higher and the truck/SUV was at least 5 mpg higher. The program would mandate that the engine block and drive train be destroyed.

"SEMA is working with lawmakers to mitigate some of the legislation's unintended consequences and its potential damage to the automotive aftermarket," said Chris Kersting, SEMA's President & CEO. "These commonsense proposals will make sure the government is not spending $3,500 or 4,500 on a vehicle that may only be worth a few hundred dollars but may have potential value to vehicle collectors and to promote the benefits of parts recycling."

A vehicle that is 25 years old or older is rarely driven, does not contribute to the nation's dependence on foreign oil, and is worth far less than the government voucher. A 25-year exclusion would also guarantee that older cars that have an historic or aesthetic value are not inadvertently crushed. These vehicles are valued by hobbyists or may be a source of recyclable parts for use on restoration projects.

The letter to the Congressional leadership noted that recycling the engine and transmission is environmentally sensitive. "If the legislation simply requires that the equipment be disassembled as the vehicle is scrapped, it would fulfill lawmakers' intent to prevent an engine/drive train from being directly installed into another vehicle," Kersting added. "The responsible recycling of parts is a better solution for preserving natural resources and reducing CO2 emissions than crushing the equipment."

Rebuilt engines require an estimated 80% less energy to produce than a new engine and cost 30-50% less since the core has been salvaged. Critical internal parts are replaced so the final rebuilt product is one that meets or exceeds original equipment performance standards. The engine/transmission can even surpass new car technology with the simple addition of new-technology retrofit equipment.

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John Stewart

View from the Locked Gate

A bit of sarcasm about an access lesson

The gal in uniform with the big gun on her hip smiled and waved as she installed the recessed pad lock on the gate.  I guess she thought we were happy about the road being closed.  Her rugged 4x4 government-bought pickup truck that was kinda parked in our view had all sorts of signs and decals declaring she was a public servant.  We figured it must be true.

She had sent us an official-looking letter a while back asking for comments, but the fish were a’bitin’ so we missed out on the letter-writin’.   We figured someone else would write those darn letters.  We figured wrong on all accounts.

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John Stewart

SEMA Challenges Claims That Cash for Clunkers Will Clean Environment

SEMA is disputing claims that vehicle scrappage programs will clean the air or reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. SEMA contends that these misdirected programs do more environmental harm than good, and deny cash incentives to millions of Americans who want to buy a new car.

The scrappage debate was recently revived when President Obama endorsed scrappage as part of an overall strategy to help rebuild the U.S. auto industry.

Scrappage programs accelerate the demise of older vehicles which are then typically crushed into blocks of metal. These “Cash for Clunkers” programs focus on a car's age or fuel-efficiency rating rather than its actual emissions or how much it is driven.

SEMA argues that the environmental claims made by some congressional lawmakers do not withstand scrutiny. Given the low value of the cash vouchers being offered to consumers to purchase a new vehicle (generally ranging from $2,000–$5,000), the facts demonstrate that vehicles traded-in for demolition could include late-model vehicles that have been damaged in accidents or have mechanical problems. The programs would also collect rarely driven second and third vehicles.

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John Stewart

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