Former President Clinton’s eleventh-hour ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks just received yet another blow from the Bush administration, when the Interior Department, acting on the request of the snowmobile industry, offered three alternatives to an outright ban. Option one: Delay the phase-out by one year. Option two: Limit the number of snowmobiles at Yellowstone’s popular West Entrance (where air quality is so bad that rangers were provided with respirators last week) while increasing the number permitted to enter elsewhere and requiring all snowmobiles to be cleaner and quieter. Option three: Allow snowmobiles (the cleaner and quieter kind) only on major roads and reduce their overall numbers. Critics say the administration is just buying time before reversing the ban entirely, and note that support for the ban has remained unwavering through four public comment periods. But hey, a fifth (now in progress) never hurt.

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