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Eye On Boise

Tue., May 14, 2013, 4:24 p.m.

Coast Guard issues permit, ‘Race the St. Joe’ jet boat race is back on

The "Race the St. Joe" jet boat race near St. Maries on May 17-19 is back on, after the U.S. Coast Guard today issued a permit for the event. Gov. Butch Otter and Idaho's congressional delegation had pleaded with the Coast Guard to permit this year's race, rather than first require a lengthy environmental assessment that would have taken until far past the race date. The permit was issued today.

Commander Eric Belleque, chief of external affairs for Coast Guard District 13, said Friday that environmental concerns were being addressed "by requirements imposed by federal, state and local agencies on the event sponsors," and that he was confident the permit would be issued in time. Otter's letter to the Coast Guard included a memo from Idaho Fish & Game addressing concerns over eagle nests and bull trout, and recommending that zones be established around eagle nests for the event and spectators and vehicles kept out of those zones. With those steps, Fish & Game Director Virgil Moore said the event wouldn't impact sensitive wildlife in the area.

Belleque said, "As environmental stewards, the Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring that our marine event permit process complies with the letter and spirit of the law." Click below for Otter's full announcement.

C.L. “Butch” Otter

GOVERNOR

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 14, 2013    

 

 

COAST GUARD PERMITS “RACE THE JOE!” EVENT

 

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced today that wildlife concerns had been addressed and the U.S. Coast Guard has issued a permit for the second annual “Race the Joe!” jet boat race on northern Idaho’s St. Joe River. The race is scheduled for May 17-19 near St. Maries.

The event was threatened when the Coast Guard announced early last week that it needed to conduct an environmental analysis of the race’s impact on protected bald eagles and bull trout. The analysis would have taken too long for the race to go on as scheduled.

Commander Eric Belleque, chief of external affairs for Coast Guard District 13, said a marine permit for the Race the Joe! event was issued today.

Last Friday, Belleque said, “Environmental concerns identified by the Coast Guard during its NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) review are being addressed by requirements imposed by federal, state, and local agencies on the event sponsors. As environmental stewards, the Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring that our marine event permit process complies with the letter and spirit of the law. Based on the information we have at this time, the Coast Guard is confident that a marine event permit will be issued early next week.”

Governor Otter, Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo and Congressman Raul Labrador wrote to Coast Guard Rear Admiral Keith Taylor in Seattle earlier last week asking him to use his authority to allow the race to go on as planned. Governor Otter also included a memo from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game with information on how the potential wildlife impacts could be mitigated.

 

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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