Federal judge repeals Clinton snowmobile ban

The latest chapter has opened in what has become a sort of mini-Iliad for our times: the battle over snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. On Friday, a federal judge in Wyoming, Clarence Brimmer, struck down the ban on snowmobiles in the parks put in place toward the end of Clinton’s second term. The ban, he wrote in his opinion, was “the product of a prejudged, political decision to ban snowmobiles from all the national parks.” Despite the fact that there were more than 100,000 public comments on the ban, roughly 75 percent supporting it, Brimmer wrote that “the public was left out of the process.” Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) hailed the decision; enviros decried it. The National Park Service was already in the process of creating new rules governing snowmobiles in the parks, which would allow 720 a day in Yellowstone and 140 a day in Grand Teton. The ruling is the latest blow in what is shaping up as a judicial cage match between Brimmer and Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington, D.C., who has ruled in favor of the ban.