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UNITED STATES v. MATHERSON

December 10, 1973

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Robert MATHERSON, Defendant. UNITED STATES of America, v. Carolyn MATHERSON, Defendant


Travia, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: TRAVIA

FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND OPINION

TRAVIA, District Judge.

 These eight actions came on for trial on September 18, 1973. By agreement of all parties concerned the actions would be consolidated and the facts stipulated. A jury trial was waived and decision was reserved.

 The defendant, Robert Matherson, by five separate Informations duly filed, has been charged with violations of Title 36 C.F.R., Section 7.20, subsection 2 and subsection 3 (Title 16, United States Code, Section 3).

 The defendant, Carolyn Matherson, by three separate Informations duly filed, has been charged with violations of Title 36 C.F.R., Section 7.20, subsection 2 and subsection 3 (Title 16, United States Code, Section 3).

 DISCUSSION OF FACTS AND LAW

 The defendants, Robert Matherson and Carolyn Matherson, move to have Title 36 C.F.R. § 7.20 declared unconstitutional and the charges against them dismissed, or in the alternative, to have a Judgment of Acquittal entered.

 Robert Matherson and Carolyn Matherson have been charged with violation of Title 36 C.F.R. § 7.20(2), (3) prohibiting the use of a motor vehicle without a permit and prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle during restricted hours, respectively, within the boundaries of the Fire Island National Seashore. The parties have agreed to stipulate to the relevant facts surrounding each alleged violation. As a result, the only issue before this court is the constitutionality of Title 36 C.F.R. § 7.20.

 Congress has plenary power to make rules and regulations concerning the use of land belonging to the United States. *fn1" This power is without limitation and preempts that of the Executive or of the several states unless Congress specifically authorizes the administration of public land by one or both of these governmental units. *fn2"

 Congress has authorized the Secretary of the Interior ("Secretary") to establish the Fire Island National Seashore. *fn3" The Secretary is in charge of administering the National Seashore in a manner consistent with the general Congressional intent of preserving the natural resources located on Fire Island. *fn4" In carrying out this delegated duty, the Secretary may appoint subordinate officials and subdelegate to them the necessary power needed to perform the day to day operations of the National Seashore. *fn5" The Secretary has subdelegated such power to the Superintendent of the Fire Island National Seashore ("Superintendent"). In exercising his subdelegated power, the Superintendent, as the agent of the Secretary, promulgated rules and regulations governing the use of motor vehicles on National Seashore land. *fn6"

 Title 36 C.F.R. § 7.20(2), (vii) provides:

 
"No permit will be issued by the Superintendent for any motor vehicle until the applicant has first secured from the towns of Brookhaven and/or Islip . . . an appropriate permit covering the same activity, use, and area of use for which a seashore permit is requested."

 This rule and regulation which sets forth requirements to secure a National Seashore vehicular permit is not an invalid subdelegation of administrative authority to a local municipality. Furthermore, Title 36 C.F.R. § 7.20(2), (vii) does not represent an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress' power to make rules and regulations respecting property belonging to the United States.

 The Fire Island National Seashore was established in 1964 for the purpose of conserving and preserving certain unspoiled and undeveloped beaches located on Fire Island, New York. *fn7" The Senate ...


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