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By: Robert Janis

OHVers Learn to Live With Arizona Dust Rule -- A Case Study

Continued from page 1...

© 2007 Judy Hedding
© 2007 Judy Hedding
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.”

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 abatement measures.
  • An event at a facility where a fee for admission is charged and that includes dust abatement measures.
  • 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 operations.

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.

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