By: Robert Janis
OHVers Learn to Live
With Arizona Dust Rule -- A Case Study
Simonetta pointed out that all involved
realized that regardless of what happened the
law would cause pain to them. “The idea was to
mitigate YOUR pain,” he said. “And that’s why
they all cooperated.”
© 2007 Judy Hedding
So Simonetta and Gursh
said to legislators on behalf of OHV riders that
the law should regulate only OHV use. It
shouldn’t have anything to do with someone who
trespasses on land to ride their OHV. He
explained that OHV use should not be closed
because of a trespassing issue. Trespassers
should be dealt with as law breakers and
prosecuted as trespassers.
“OHV riders came into this as a problem
because everyone has stories of seeing an OHV
rider trespassing on land and running circles in
the dirt and dust on their OHV. We said that you
can’t regulate law breakers with this
legislation. You already have trespassing laws
that could do that. This legislation could only
regulate OHV use on trails and the relationship
that legitimate riding had to the dust problem.”
So a bill was drafted and sponsored by Carolyn
Allen in the senate and Ray Barnes in the house.
“Carolyn Allen, with strong, positive assistance
from Representative Barnes and Senator John
Huppenthal did a great job of navigating a very
large group with specific interests through the
process,” said Simonetta. And it was ultimately
passed and signed by Governor Napolitano.
The law mandates that OHV riding could be
prohibited during dust High Pollution Advisory
Days. This could be waived for:
- An event involving off highway vehicles,
all-terrain vehicles, and off-road
recreational vehicles that is endorsed,
authorized, permitted, or sponsored by a
public agency that occurs on a designated
route or area and that includes dust
- An event at a facility where a fee for
admission is charged and that includes dust
- A closed course that is maintained with
dust abatement measures.
- Using an off-highway vehicle,
all-terrain vehicle or off-road recreational
motor vehicle during the normal course of
business or the normal course of government
Moreover, people found violating this law
could be fined $50 to $250 depending on the
number of violations.
Dealers are also required to distribute
information to buyers of off-highway vehicles on
how they can limit the generation of dust and
about the dust laws.
Finally, the law allows cities within the
non-attainment area to pass air quality dust
rules of their own no later than March 31, 2008
or the state law would supersede.
Again, the law was passed in 2007. So cities
within Maricopa County had until March 31, 2008
to draft their own air-quality ordinances. The
coalition then concentrated on the cities that
decided to pass their own ordinances. Some did
create their own rules and some opted to accept
rules set by the Maricopa Association of
Governments or accepted the State Law.
Simonetta pointed out that the impact of the
ordinances adopted by cities on their own will
not be fully realized until later in the year.
He noted that now OHV riders are taking their
machines to cooler areas of the state where
these laws are not applicable. However, when the
weather gets nicer, the large numbers of Phoenix
area OHV riders will stay in the vicinity of
their homes to do their riding, and that is
where the patch-work of local city ordinances
are in effect.
The OHV Coalition, under the tireless efforts
of Gursh, is working with Simonetta to address
issues some city ordinances are anticipated to
create, and in some cases with certain public
land managers, already have created. Time will
tell if the efforts being made by the Arizona
OHV Coalition and its allies will work to avoid
sweeping trails closures in major riding areas
in the non-attainment area.