House Rejects Snowmobile Ban, Again

Snowmobile news! Here at Grist, we can’t get enough of it. Thursday brought a 224-198 vote in the House of Representatives rejecting a measure — an amendment to the Interior Department’s fiscal year 2005 spending bill — that would have banned snowmobiles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The same ban was rejected last year in a 210-210 vote. Rather than rehearsing the history of the snowmobile fight (again), let’s sample some of the latest rhetoric. Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), the amendment’s sponsor, said letting the machines in the parks is “like doing your laundry in the park’s geysers.” Zing! Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.) said the “radical environmentalists” supporting the proposed ban “would like to put all of the West into a national park.” Step back! And finally, Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), citing long winters in parts of the West, said, “Without the snowmobile and stretch pants, we don’t have a life.” Despite its questionable relevance to the debate, Oberstar’s vivid imagery gets our top prize. Congrats, James!