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Two North Idaho conservation groups, Friends of the Clearwater and the Kootenai Environmental Alliance, are questioning the U.S. Coast Guard's turnabout on permits for the upcoming “Race the Joe” jet boat race on the St. Joe River near St. Maries, allowing the race to go forward as scheduled May 17-19. “We’d like to know how the Coast Guard went from needing 130-something days to complete the environmental assessment to being able to complete it in a week,” said Brett Haverstick of Friends of the Clearwater. “With that kind of speed, the Coast Guard should consider entering the race.” Click below for the two groups' full statement.
Both Gov. Butch Otter and three members of Idaho's congressional delegation appealed to the Coast Guard to issue the permit in time to allow the event to take place as scheduled; Otter also sent a memo from Idaho Fish & Game saying the event wouldn't harm bull trout or bald eagles if organizers agreed to keep people and vehicles out of buffer zones around eagle nesting sites.