Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Personal Watercraft Ban Starts Next Week
The Bush administration will move ahead with a Clinton-era ban on personal watercraft in most national parks and recreation areas, adding eight permanent bans on April 22 and five on a temporary basis. Commonly known by the trade name Jet Ski, the watercraft are increasingly popular but also increasingly criticized by environmentalists for their noise.
MSNBC reports, “The ban is a result of a National Park Service rule issued in 2000 that set a deadline for all national parks with motorized boat access to establish regulations governing the watercraft or impose a blanket ban.
The park service had already prohibited the use of personal watercraft on 66 of the 87 bodies of water under its jurisdiction. That left 21 areas to be determined. Eight of those have decided to ban the watercraft as of April 22, a deadline set under the rule.
The ban, next week applies to:
• Cape Cod National Seashore, Mass.
• Cape Lookout National Seashore, N.C.
• Cumberland Island National Seashore, Ga.
• Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Penn.
• Gulf Island National Seashore, Fla. and Miss.
• Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Ind.
• Padre Island National Seashore, Texas.
• Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, Calif.
Superintendents at five other parks have decided some watercraft use might be appropriate, but environmental assessments are still under way there and those areas face a ban as of April 22 until new rules are issued. Eight other parks have until Sept. 15 to adopt rules for watercraft or ban them.
The personal watercraft industry sued the federal government a few weeks ago to stop the ban.
According to the industry’s website, “The suit seeks an immediate injunction in order to halt enforcement of illegally adopted PWC bans at many National Recreation Areas and Seashores and prevent the loss of other such areas prior to the completion of their environmental assessments.
“The environmental assessments must be done. Any regulation of PWC or any other type of motor boat should be based on accurate scientific data, not on personal bias or prejudice,” said Stephan Andranian, Government Affairs Manager of the AWA (American Watercraft Association).
“It is important to point out that we have never sought access for PWC owners in every National Park. What we seek is fair treatment and equal protection, and that our government abide by the law,” added Andranian.
Story idea: Whether or not you live near one of these parks, take a look at personal watercraft usage and sales as well as the environmental impact of their use.
I gave Morning Meeting readers a heads up a couple of weeks ago that this was coming, so here is the followup: Botox -– the popular poison that temporarily removes wrinkles -– was approved Monday by the Food and Drug Administration as a cosmetic.
The Washington Post says, “The product is a purified form of the toxin that causes botulism, and it has been on the market as a drug to treat several muscle disorders of the face since 1989. But in recent years cosmetic surgeons have also been commonly using the drug to remove frown and wrinkle lines. This formal FDA approval of that use is likely to further widen its appeal.
“While Botox is already used by doctors to remove facial lines of all kinds, the FDA approval is specifically for frown, or glabellar, lines between the eyebrows. The agency reported that in clinical trials of 405 people, mostly women, Botox erased the lines by relaxing the muscles that cause them.”
118 Federal Doctors Convicted, Disciplined… And Hired
More than 100 federal government doctors have been convicted of crimes or disciplined by state medical boards, including one physician treating veterans who was convicted of helping a terrorist group, an Associated Press review of medical licenses has found.
Federal agencies are required to check the backgrounds of doctors they employ but are not prohibited from hiring those with criminal records, revoked licenses or a history of medical punishments.
All a doctor needs to get a government job is a medical license that is valid in one state.