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After a decade, Utah emissions rule set to make waves

Published December 6, 2012 1:52 pm

Lake Powell • Regulation affects personal watercraft but not regular boats.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Delayed for a decade, a regulation regarding emissions standards on personal watercraft (PWC) in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will finally become law Jan. 1.

Officials managing Lake Powell behind Glen Canyon Dam say citations will be handed out to people on personal watercraft that do not meet 2006 emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency on two-stroke engines. The regulation applies only to PWC and not to boats.

A news release said the park service "delayed implementation of this regulation for 10 years to minimize impacts to PWC owners and provide time for people to plan for this new requirement."

Glen Canyon Superintendent Todd Brindle said his staff is working to inform Lake Powell users about the changes and will "take the opportunity next summer to continue to educate park visitors."

PWC are only allowed in national park areas under special regulations; Glen Canyon studied use of the vessels during a planning effort in 2002.

An Environmental Impact Statement regarding PWC use in the national recreation area provided three alternatives, each studying the impact on visitor safety, experience, water and air quality, soundscapes, wildlife, park resources and park operations. More than 30,000 comments were received.

A Record of Decision on June 27, 2003, allowed PWC use under special regulations and the delay in the emissions standards requirement.

Dave Harris, director of boating for Utah State Parks, which oversees boating on all Utah waters, was a state park ranger on Lake Powell when the National Park Service was considering banning PWC at Glen Canyon.

"Knowing how many personal watercraft owners will be impacted by the regulation is really hard to tell," Harris said. "It might be that the majority of machines are already compliant, but there are a number of older used ones getting passed around."

Harris said there are between 12,000 and 14,000 personal water craft registered in Utah.

brettp@sltrib.com