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Washington, D.C. -- Senator Mike Enzi is asking Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to give the state of Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park gateway communities the say they are due concerning winter use of the park.

In a letter Friday, Enzi requested that Babbitt name the state of Wyoming, Park County Commissioners and the Cody and Jackson Chambers of Commerce "cooperating agencies" in the environmental assessment (EA) being undertaken in the park now. As part of a settlement from a lawsuit brought against the Park Service by animal rights groups, it agreed to conduct an EA to see what effect some winter use activities are having on the park.

Enzi has expressed his concern that park officials and the parties bringing the suit both want to eliminate snowmobiling in the park and he said the voices of the parties most affected, the state and gateway communities, deserve to be heard.

"I've added my voice to theirs in requesting they be named cooperating agencies," said Enzi. "I will continue to press federal officials to open the door and let the people who have to live with their decisions in to talk."

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Park Service can grant parties cooperating agency status if they have special expertise and experience that would lend to the study.

The EA is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 15. A 30-day public comment period will follow.

(Enzi's letter to Babbitt accompanied this news release.)