|The renewed joust for the world land speed record will never be contested again in the Black Rock Desert if environmental protection groups have anything to say about it.|
battle lines have been drawn between jet-powered
vehicles, they've also been drawn between environmental
preservationists and the Bureau of Land Management.
Craig Breedlove of Rio Vista, Calif. was the picture of mixed emotions after his failed attempt on Oct. 28 to wrest the title from Richard Noble of Great Britain.
He was shaking from a brush with disaster after his car veered off course at 675 miles per hour and he was worried about the damage to his car. He was also bitter about having his schedule squeezed by legal action which sought to prevent his run.
"If the environmentalists wanted to keep an American from getting the record, they succeeded," Breedlove said.
Susan Lynn, executive director of Public Resource Associates, issued a "no comment" to Breedlove's statement. "I have nothing against him personally," she said.
Public Resource Associates (PRA) is a privately funded non-profit organization focusing on natural resource and public-land policy issues. Based in Reno, it is funded by John Livermore, a geologist who was involved in the original discovery of Nevada's gold-rich Carlin Trend.
Breedlove, Noble and Gary Swenson of Puyallup, Wash. were granted BLM special recreation permits for Sept. 16-Nov. 15. Environmental groups then filed an appeal and asked for a stay of execution to prevent use of the desert.
Bruce Harris, a deputy chief administrative judge, refused to grant the stay.
An appeal was filed by the Coalition for the High Rock/Black Rock National Conservation Area. Included in the coalition, besides PRA, are representatives of the Oregon-California Trails Association, the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited and the Wild Horse Protective Association.
Lynn said she could not comment on the legal proceedings and said she had no idea how long it would be before the appeal was ruled upon.
"From what I've heard, it could be anywhere from nine months to five years," she said.
Lynn Clemons, outdoor recreation planner for the BLM's Winnemucca district office, said he expects a decision "anywhere from six months to a year."
So what were the concerns over the use of a small portion of the smooth, brownish-white playa formed by the ancient Lake Lahontan
covering 400 square miles whose
southeastern edge is just outside of Gerlach, Nev., 100
miles north of Reno?
"Very emphatically, yes, we are
going to be looking at the safety factor for the next
attempt," he said.
copyright (c) 1996,
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