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9:40 AM Thu, Nov. 15th

Nature: LMNRA looking to ban two-stroke carbureted engines

If you are one of the many local boat owners whose watercraft is powered by a two-stroke, carbureted gasoline engine made up to 2006, then you'll want to be aware of the proposed ban by the Lake Mead National Recreational Area of your engine starting January 1, 2013.

But before you go out and sell your favorite watercraft, read this.

The LMNRA is apparently going to submit for final rule-making and approval of a regulation that would prohibit carbureted, two-stroke engines on Lakes Mead and Mohave, even though it is already in the Lake Management Plan that was proposed in 2002 and subsequently approved in March 2003.

The rule was instituted after the NPS was sued by a radical environmental group called the Bluewater Coalition.

As a result of the suit, NPS agreed to ban PWC's (Personal Watercraft) with carbureted two-stroke engines. But the LMNRA went further, seeking to ban carbureted, two-stroke outboard motors as well.

As some of the old timers in Kingman might remember, at the time that NPS was working on this management plan, they came to Kingman and held a public meeting at the old Negus building.

I was at this meeting, and I can tell you locals were not at all impressed by what the NPS was proposing at that time. And from what I am hearing, no one is happy now.

And yet, almost 10 years later, the rule is being prepared for implementation that will negatively affect a lot of local boaters and anglers.

I emailed Jim Holland, who is the Park Planner for the LMNRA about this situation in late May. In his response to me about the ban, Holland wrote, "As you are well aware, we are prohibiting carbureted two-stroke engines on January 1st of 2013. This has been in the mill since we published the Lake Management Plan back in 2002. We provided ten years to make the conversion to either direct injection, two-stroke engines or four-stroke engines."

But then things got a little murky.

A local resident, Jay Chan, started reading about the ban and in phone calls to NPS officials at Glen Canyon on Lake Powell, he was told the ban only affected PWC's and not boats.

I sent that info to Holland and he advised that the rule on boat motors was part of the Lake Mead Management Plan and only affected Lakes Mead and Mohave.

But Holland did say that there is going to be a meeting where this rule on boat motors will be revisited and, that as part of the rule-making process, it will require NPS to seek public comment.

I asked Holland if that meant another series of public meetings would be held like the ones we had in 2002. Holland said they would probably not be public meetings, and they would seek public comment only.

He also said they are heading towards implementing the rule, and it would be in place by January 2013. "Boat engines that don't meet the 2006 EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) emission standards will be banned," he said.

That got me to thinking.

If the rule is going to be in place by 2013, then why even seek public comment? Seems like it is a done deal in the eyes of NPS folks in Boulder City and seeking public comment is just a formality and part of their process.

Holland assured me that I would get the information on when and where you and I could comment on this issue

I will be following this story closely as it progresses and will keep you updated.

I have a personal interest in this matter.

I am one of those many local watercraft-owners that has a perfectly good 1987 175 horsepower Evinrude motor on the back of my Skeeter bass boat.

That engine would be prohibited under the proposed ban.

If that rule is passed, then I have but two options. I can upgrade to a newer engine or sell the boat in Phoenix where there is no ban.

Either way it's going to cost me a lot of money, and I'm frustrated as I recently spent about $4,000 on the Skeeter.

What we need to do is get after all of our politicians, both state and federal, and get them involved in this situation. After all, boating and fishing is big business in Mohave County.

I think that a national group like the Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society (BASS) should get involved in this matter, too.

It seems strange that only LMNRA is proposing and/or has adopted in its management plan a ban on two-stroke outboard motors. NPS on Lake Powell has not proposed any such action.

Once again it is shaping up to be a classic case of our federal government taking care of us. Yeah, right!