Next steps moving forward

Now that the public hearings on the proposed wakeboat rule are over, we wish to share with you our strategy and tactics for the next steps in the process. Our first goal in the short term is to convince the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to strengthen the proposed rule based on what they heard at the public hearings. If ANR is convinced that a stronger rule is warranted, and if they move forward with a rule that protects the health and enjoyment of our lakes, then we will have achieved our objectives. If ANR sticks with is proposed weak rule, then we still have an opportunity to strengthen the rule when it goes to the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR).

Influencing the Agency of Natural Resources.

The Agency is now reviewing the oral and written comments received during the rulemaking process. These total over 750 written and oral suggestions for improving the rule. The vast majority of these favor a stronger rule that calls for wakesports to take place at least 1000 feet from shore. We hope that the ANR will take these comments into consideration, and amend their proposed rule to include the longer 1000-foot distance. Doing so would reduce the number of lakes on which wake sports would be allowed from 35 to 19.

These comments from the public include much new and useful information that should help convince the agency to strengthen the rule. This includes:

  • Eyewitness accounts of the damage and danger to the health and enjoyment of our lakes caused by wakesports;
  • An increased appreciation of the dangers of wakesports to other users of our lakes and ponds;
  • New scientific evidence of the power and effects of wakesports on lake bottoms, shorelines, and traditional recreational pursuits;
  • The depth and extent of Vermonters’ concern for water quality and the continuation of low-impact outdoor recreation on our inland lakes.

We plan to continue to build public support to influence the decision of Julie Moore, the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, to strengthen the rule. You can expect to see more newsletters, opinion pieces, and letters to the editor in the Vermont press over the next couple of weeks. Please feel free to send your own letters and opinion pieces to your local newspaper, or your favorite online Vermont news source.

It’s been a long process since we submitted the original petition more than a year ago, and we are nearing the home stretch. Your continued support for a strong rule has helped us get this far. Once we approach the final step in the rulemaking process — the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules — we will notify you and keep you informed.

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