Bluewater Network considering suing the NPS again

GRAND COULEE — The National Park Service is ready to allow personal watercraft (PWC) back on Lake Roosevelt, but a national environmental coalition is considering another lawsuit on the issue, the Star of Grand Coulee reported in an article yesterday.

If the National Park Service allows PWC back on the lake, it would mark the first time since November 2002, when personal watercrafts were banned in all non-tribal waters of Lake Roosevelt, according to the newspaper.

Efforts from environmental groups led by San Francisco-based Bluewater Network, played a large role in the ban being put into action, the Star stated.

The National Park Service implemented a regulation in March 200 that prohibited watercraft use in national parks. The regulation banned the PWC until it was determined that their use was appropriate in specific areas.

For PWC to be allowed back on Lake Roosevelt, the National Recreation Area had to complete an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the crafts’ impacts on the environment and visitor experience, the newspaper reported.

After the assessment goes to the National Park Service, it will then be available to the public for a 60-day review period. The final EA ix expected to be completed later this year, with May 30 as the date Lake Roosevelt is hoping to have PWC allowed back on the lake.

The Bluewater Network is opposed to the proposal, and its Public Land Director Sean Smith told the newspaper that although the National Park Service would admit the park would be better off with the ban still in place, they are still going to allow the PWC.

The environmental organization is considering filing a lawsuit if in fact the National Park Service allows the crafts back on Lake Roosevelt. In addition, Smith told the Star that they are also looking into pursuing lawsuits for other parks where PWC have been allowed back.

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