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Arctic Cat President and CEO Asks U.S. Lawmakers to Legislate Against Ban on Snowmobiles in National Parks

26 May 2000

Arctic Cat President and CEO Asks U.S. Lawmakers to Legislate Against Ban on Snowmobiles in National Parks

    WASHINGTON, D.C.--May 25, 2000--Arctic Cat Inc. President and CEO Chris Twomey testified today in U.S. House and Senate oversight hearings that the U.S. Interior Department launched a snowmobiling ban in national parks with "unwarranted condemnation" of the entire industry. Twomey called the ban "unjustified and misguided," and said department officials have ignored proactive and productive efforts by manufacturers to reduce noise and emissions levels.
    Twomey represented snowmobile manufacturers in hearings before the House Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands, and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
    "Assistant Secretary (Donald) Barry says our industry has had many years to clean up its act and has not done so," Twomey told lawmakers. "This is simply not true, and he knows it. Building on years of research by manufacturers, great progress is being made toward significantly improving the environmental performance of snowmobiles."
    Twomey, chairman of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), asked for legislation preventing further Interior Department action to ban snowmobiles until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues national snowmobile emissions standards expected later this year. He also suggested the Interior Department should work with the industry to develop and implement a two-year snowmobile management plan to pursue and achieve its stated environmental goals.
    Twomey said the snowmobile industry has offered its cooperation and support to the Interior Department regarding emissions and many other issues. Manufacturers have also worked with the EPA since 1995 to develop national snowmobile emissions standards similar to regulations now in effect for personal watercraft. The cooperative relationship established with the EPA, he said, stands in stark contrast to the Interior Department ultimatum and the threat of "irreparable damage from unilateral government action."
    "Let me say very clearly that (manufacturers) are confident we can satisfy any reasonable national emissions standards issued by the EPA within an agreed phase-in period, just as these same companies met the reasonable standards for personal watercraft. We did it then, and we will do it again," said Twomey.
    Arctic Cat has already developed a new-concept snowmobile powered by a four-stroke, electronic fuel injected engine that is significantly cleaner and quieter than traditional two-stroke products. The company made the new technology available to Yellowstone National Park personnel for testing last winter. Limited production this year will provide 50 four-stroke snowmobiles to a dealer that rents snowmobiles for public use in Yellowstone.
    Twomey concluded by pointing out that the arbitrary reversal of decades-old policy allowing snowmobiling in national parks affects not only snowmobile manufacturers and dealers, but hundreds of communities where snowmobiling is the backbone of local economies during winter months. Arctic Cat Inc. designs, engineers, manufactures and markets snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) under the Arctic Cat brand name, as well as related parts, garments and accessories.