DEM's skewed logic distorts reservoir rules


To the editor:

Some months back, a state Department of Environmental Management official was quoted in an article about the big fishing tournaments DEM promotes on Stafford Pond, a Tiverton drinking water supply for 11,000-plus residents. Speaking about the huge engines the department allows during tournaments, in blatant disregard of its own 10-horsepower limit rule, the DEM official said that people who live on the pond are grandfathered in and can use any size engine they want, so DEM can’t tell these tournament fishermen they can’t exceed the 10 horsepower limit. It wouldn’t be fair.

Wrong. That’s exactly what a grandfather clause is for. People who live on the pond can have any size engine they want because they are "grandfathered in," and everybody else has to abide by the rules and regulations.

Using the DEM logic that it is "unfair" to limit tournament boat horsepower, isn’t it also unfair of them to limit all other ramp users to 10 horsepower?

Tiverton wants DEM to adhere to its own 10 horsepower rule regarding tournaments. DEM attorney Gary Powers claims that, "it is discriminatory against members of the public" because it puts limits on those using the boat ramp (for tournaments) but does not place the same limitations on boats owned by residents living on the shores of the pond using private boat ramps.

Are you telling me a DEM lawyer does not know what "grandfathered in" means? It means Mr. Powers has no basis for what he is objecting to.

It also allows pond shore residents only to swim in the pond. Why isn’t he advocating to eliminate that "unfair" rule? Huge engines in our drinking water are okay, but I can’t take a swim?

And why is there even a public boat ramp on a pond that supplies drinking water for 11,000-plus Tiverton residents? I keep reading that the land and pond belong to Tiverton but the boat ramp belongs to DEM. That gives it the right to install said ramp on Tiverton’s drinking water supply?

DEM stocks Stafford Pond with fish twice a year and hosts ridiculously large tournaments featuring many boats, some with 250 horsepower engines. Let’s just say 200 horsepower. That’s the equivalent of 20 boats with 10 horsepower motors. Not all are as big, but most have engines that exceed DEM’s 10 horsepower rule, by far.

Who invited DEM to pollute our drinking water supply with gasoline engines?

And what about any trash and human waste from the boaters using Tiverton's reservoir?

Why doesn’t Tiverton just take that boat ramp down?

What gives DEM?

Ralph G. Doliber



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