Another decree, from the kings of the lake
So now we are looking into reducing the speed limit in Emerald Bay to 5 miles per hour. There doesn’t seem to be anyone stopping boats going over the 15 mph limit now, so how will this new speed be regulated? But that is actually not the issue.
Last year we heard that closing the bay to boats one day a week (on weekends, only in summer months) was the answer. The answer to WHAT? The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has stated that Emerald Bay has at times exceeded the limits by very small margins once in a while for certain pollutants coming from motors. OK, I can buy that. It’s measurable, it’s been checked a lot of times and none of us want the lake to become polluted. At the same time, it obviously isn’t too bad of a situation because on most days the bay water does not exceed the limits or even come close to them. A lot “probably” has to do with the weather more than anything else.
So how does the TRPA come up with these well-thought-out ways to solve the problem (if there actually is one)? “Studies” – lots of studies. I read the one last year talking about the closing of the bay eight days a summer. It was filled with words and phrases like could, should, might, will influence, seems to, probably, indicates that, etc., etc., etc. Not very definitive for an organization that says it uses scientific measures to form its policies. Since that idea didn’t exactly show a lot of scientific, economic or PR value, we should come up with another way to mess with the bay, right?
So now we should slowwww down in the bay. Except maybe the big tourist boats that have the biggest engines on the lake. And what do we anticipate will be the reduction in pollutants in the bay by implementing this new policy? I’m sure there must be specific data on the exact reductions of pollutants a 10 mph reduction in speed by all the different watercraft will have. I’m sure the TRPA can show us a study to prove that a 5 mph reduction just won’t do the trick. Nope, still a day or two when the pollution limits might exceed by one trillionth of a part at 10 mph. Better bring it down to 5.
I am sure the TRPA has taken into account all the pollution created by “water rage” a policy like this is sure to create. No self- respecting powerboat owner is going to just sit back while some sailor sails right past him going through the bay. No way! They are going to throw beer cans, leftover sandwiches, pretzels sticks, empty wine bottles and everything else they can grab to let sail boaters know who are still the kings of the lake. And what about those speedy kayakers?
So why are we looking at all this? Because the TRPA is afraid of real issues like … goose poop. Now THAT would be an issue worth tackling.
– Pat Ronan is a South Lake Tahoe resident.
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When April 22 or Earth Day rolls around each year, it causes many people to reflect on the state of our environment and consider how to protect our planet.