WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The National Park Service, facing a lawsuit from conservation groups for allowing e-bikes on non-motorized trails, disbanded a bike-industry group that has been accused of secret lobbying for that access.
The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and a coalition of conservation groups are suing to restore a ban on e-bikes on NPS non-motorized trails. According to the suit, the E-bike Partner & Agency Group’s meetings with the staff of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Deputy NPS Director P. Daniel Smith violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires transparency to prevent secret lobbying.
“This e-bike call will conclude our ‘Partner and Agency’ calls. … This is to ensure that we avoid any conflict with the Federal Advisory Committee Act,” said an email from an NPS official to colleagues dated Oct. 9 and obtained by PEER through the Freedom of Information Act.
In another email obtained by PEER, a U.S. Forest Service official expressed concern about the meetings because they were not open and didn’t include anyone outside e-bike and mountain bike advocates.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this month, contends the group did not give public notice of its meetings. PEER said the group included only e-bike and mountain biking advocates.
The …read more