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Itís time to push back using lawsuits

The move by NMMA to team up with others (the Engine Products Group coalition) in filing a lawsuit in federal court challenging EPAís recent approval of E15 is as great as Howard Bealeís (Network) exclamation: ďI’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!Ē

Letís face it, boating and fishing activities have been hit by lawsuits from activist environmental groups and simple wackos for a long time. In fact, itís an approach that has worked well for them. And, while our industry normally favors applying reason and negotiation to defend or advance our interests, there comes a time to draw the line. Suing EPA does exactly that in the E15 case, and NMMA is actually not the first, either. Petroleum and food industry groups have filed separate suits as well.

This all brings to mind similar actions being undertaken for recreational fishing rights and access. Briefs are being filed in federal courts by national grassroots political action groups like the Recreational Fishing Alliance and its state chapters. RFAís focus is on protecting access to recreational saltwater angling that is threatened by actions from anti-fishing groups and unfavorable policy decisions by regulators.

One example: In October the RFA- Florida chapter filed suit in federal district court in Jacksonville to overturn a pending ban on fishing for 72 red snapper and grouper species in a 4,800-square-mile area from southern Georgia to Cape Canaveral, Fla. The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced a six-month delay in implementation. However, RFA-FL representative Dave Heil explains the proposed management plan is a clear violation of the Magnuson Stevens Reauthorization Act on a number of counts.

One count is that NMFS has failed to comply with a Congressional mandate to replace, by January 2009, its admittedly flawed sampling program called the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey. MRFSS relies on very limited random sampling of recreation catches and there is large error associated with these estimates. Decisions that dictate recreational size, bag limits and closures are being based on this unreliable system which even the National Research Council says is in need of extensive revisions if itís to properly fulfill its current role in fisheries management.

Among other counts, the RFA lawsuit goes to the very heart of the failed MRFSS system being used to restrict recreational angling access. Fishing is under attack in many areas, from the coast of California to the Gulf of Mexico. For hundreds of boat dealers around the country, whether near fresh or saltwater, good angling opportunities are critical to boat sales. As an industry, we can strive to work together with fisheries management agencies on both federal and state levels, and we certainly recognize and advocate sound science in management to insure the future of fishing.

However, if recreational fishermen are being denied access based on a broken system of management or if millions of boaters face engine and safety problems from ethanol, and reasonable appeals to regulators for relief and fairness are not accommodated and courts are the last resort, then thatís exactly the way we should go!


7 comments on “Itís time to push back using lawsuits

  1. Captkman

    I question why this wasn’t done back before E-10 came on the market. Was there not enough evidence to show what damage and cost to the consumers motors could and would be done? Later may be better than never, but the horse may be already out of the barn.

  2. richard honke

    i am dedicated skier who lives in south dakota-I never use any fuel other than 10 % ethanol in my vehicles(my pickup died recently with 434000 miles). I do not use ethanol in my ski nautique but nobody has ever explained why I should not. can you?

  3. C. Moore

    richard honke if you want your motor to burp & possibly implode fill your nautique with ethonol laced fuel.. Your mechanic will be for ever greatful.
    Heres the cliff notes:
    Your pick up truck most likey has hard piping for fuel lines.
    Your toy (boat) has rubber
    Ethanol degredates rubber and what breaks down is sucked into your carb (which has rubber parts- which also are attached by ethanol) then your motor tries to burn the rubber laced stew – if it runs, it runs like dog dirt.
    Also ethonol molecules bond with water & the that mess falls out of suspenion to the bottom of your fuel tank. Fuel is picked up from the bottom of the tank.
    So when that happens your motor sucks in the water ethanol stew then it stops running – thats the good news – the bad news is if it was running at speed & you suck this stew in your motor it might just blow up . Motors don’t run on water. Trucks, cars are not like boats… Hope that helps

  4. Mark Matis

    Hey, why is ANYONE surprised? “Law Enforcement” in action. As usual. Nothing to see here. Move along!

  5. rog

    The use of ethanol in fuel is a political issue, not a legal one, although the procedure by which the law is implemented may be a legal one, so it seems to me that the only permanent solution is political. So why pin hopes on a legal case. The NRA learned a long time ago that political solutions have the best chance of working. So why isn’t NMMA focussing on the political solution? NMMA should also be focussing on how to deal with ethanol assuming they lose the legal and political battle? Spend a few bucks doing research so boaters can be advised how to protect themselves from E10 or E15, or E20 or whatever comes.

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