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Special Interests: Judy Sarasohn

Snowmobiles? This Isn't Yellowstone!

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, September 30, 2004; Page A23

How better to make the point that even new-model snowmobiles would disrupt the quiet and air quality of Yellowstone National Park than to turn on 11 such snowmobiles in the Simon Bolivar Park outside the headquarters of the Interior Department? Or so the enviros at the Campaign to Protect America's Land thought.

CPAL is protesting the Bush administration's plan to permit some snowmobiles in Yellowstone, including as many as 11 vehicles to run as a pack as long as they are the new models that are less noisy and less polluting than the older ones. The Clinton administration had set into motion plans to phase out snowmobiles in the park.

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The public comment period for the Bush administration regulations runs through Oct. 7.

The enviros believe that even the new models would still disrupt Yellowstone and sought a permit from the National Park Service's capital region office to hold a news conference and turn on 11 stationary new snowmobiles in the small triangle of parkland outside Interior.

Peter Altman, director of CPAL, says he was turned down and told that the snowmobiles would not be allowed because "it's a resource issue."

"It's an absurd double standard under which already polluted Washington, D.C., park space is somehow considered to be more deserving of protection from the ravages of snowmobiles than the pristine environs of America's first national park," Altman said.

William Line, a spokesman for the Park Service, said the agency turned down a permit for the snowmobiles because there would not be enough space for them at Simon Bolivar. He said the agency agreed to allow the news conference on the park grounds and suggested that CPAL seek a permit from the D.C. police to park the snowmobiles along a nearby curb lane.

"They chose not to pursue the options we provided them," Line said.

Altman said the group believed there was adequate room on the park land.

Apco Gains Back Its Destiny

Apco Worldwide, the D.C. consulting and government relations shop that has grown from a $3 million business in 1991 to a $50 million operation, has gotten control over its destiny -- with some help from outside investors.

Apco and Grey Global Group Inc. announced this week that Apco bought itself back from Grey, which itself is being bought by the mammoth WPP Group. Apco, founded in 1984 as a subsidiary of the D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter, was purchased by Grey, a major advertising company, 13 years ago.

Margery Kraus, the Apco chief executive who was a company of one 20 years ago, and other Apco officials believed that they could better retain and recruit high-level staff if they could offer equity stakes.

Kraus had owned 30 percent. With investors from the WindRiver Group, a merchant bank, Apco bought out Grey's share. Kraus said they're not releasing financial details.

"I think everybody's happy. The whole idea is to restructure the organization so we could get control of our own future," Kraus said in an interview. The firm will also have the financial resources to continue growing, she added.

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