2004 Scorecard Vote
Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park, provides vital habitat for a range of extraordinary wildlife, including the last descendants of North America's vast bison herds. It houses two-thirds of the world's geysers, hot springs, and mud pots.
In recent years, however, this touchstone of America's past has been threatened by the recreational use of snowmobiles, which pollute the air, threaten human health, interfere with the enjoyment of visitors, and harm wildlife in the sensitive environments of Yellowstone and neighboring Grand Teton National Park. In November 2000, following several years of study, the National Park Service announced a three-year phase-out of snowmobile use in both parks.
Last winter, even with an average of only 262 snowmobiles entering the park each day, snowmobiles continued to violate noise thresholds established by the park. In spite of these problems, the Bush Administration proposed to more than double last winter's numbers, allowing 720 snowmobiles per day in Yellowstone. This plan, according to the Park Service, will cause ongoing disturbance to wildlife, increase concentrations of toxic air pollutants, and generate so much noise that visitors and rangers might "choose to wear hearing protection to mitigate these impacts."
During House debate of H.R. 4568, the Interior appropriations bill, Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ), Christopher Shays (R-CT), Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), and Tim Johnson (R-IL) offered House Amendment 563 to uphold the original Park Service decision to ban snowmobile use in Yellowstone and neighboring Grand Teton National Park. On June 17, 2004, the amendment failed by a 198-224 vote (House roll call vote 263). YES is the pro-environment vote.