Federal enforcement

To the Editor:

I write concerning the Islander’s Aug. 4 editorial “Picking your battles.”

While the U.S. has a number of great attributes, one such attribute that distinguishes us from many other countries is being a rule-based society, one that recognizes that having a strong and transparent legal system is key to individual and business success.

The anti-regulatory drumbeat, as reflected in the term “Federal Government overreach,” threatens to undermine the respect for the rule of law so essential to the functioning of our constitutional democracy.

Yes, there are some regulations that may be onerous, but certainly not to the extent that the anti-regulatory crowd would have us believe. The appropriate method of seeking change in law or regulation is through commenting directly to the government agency involved or through your elected representative. In the meantime, trespass is not the answer.

As regards the editorial’s criticism of the Acadia National Park enforcing regulations against “gathering dead and down wood” in the park, this regulation is based on scientific fact that leaving dead wood and other biological matter to decompose amends the soil, providing important nutrients.

With respect to the rangers issuing speeding tickets on Eagle Lake Road “for a short time,” there are some of us who wish they would do more of it. There is nothing more terrifying than going downhill at five miles above the speed limit and having a monster SUV with two kayaks on top come roaring up behind you within one car length. Tailgating is a major problem in and out of the park, and if the local authorities won’t do anything about it, perhaps the park rangers would.

The park service enforcement of these regulations is not a major dent in their budget when you consider all their other duties. The real problem is the budget and tax cutters in Washington who place little value on our national parks or on public goods generally.

Never mind the cultural and recreational value of our parks, these tax cutters are blind to the fact that the parks bring in thousands of visitors and millions of dollars in revenues and tax receipts to the local economy.

Having served as staff in both the U.S. House and Senate, I have seen this penny-wise, pound-foolish attitude in action.

James R. Phippard

Washington, D.C.


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