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Feds Regulate Away Airboat Jobs in Florida

Feds Regulate Away Airboat Jobs in Florida

Now they’re working *for* the government.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Florida, I think of airboats. After next year, however, those of us familiar with the roar of the the gladesmen’s watercraft will probably think of regulations.

Earlier this month, the AP reported that over a dozen years’ worth of negotiation, deliberation, and compromise has culminated in the implementation of a new series of rules governing the commercial airboat industry in the Florida Everglades. Regulators have officially won the battle to implement rules written into a 1989 congressional act that expanded the Everglades national park areas to include 1.5 million acres of wetlands commonly used by both commercial and private airboat operators. After the passage of that act, Congress wanted the area managed as a protected wetland preserve, but airboat operators went to war over the classification, saying that the changes would destroy the businesses that have been around longer than the federally-mandated park.

For most airboat operators, these new rules mean that they only have a few months left before their businesses are forcibly shut down. Park services plans to partner (read: buy out and control) just four commercial operators; only private operators who can prove they were at least 16 years old and active airboat operators as of 1989 will be given a non-transferable, lifetime permit to continue operating. It’s unclear as of now how many private operators that will cover.

Keith Price, president of the Airboat Association of Florida, has spoken out against the new rules, saying that regulators have “[robbed] our children and grandchildren of the culture and the heritage that is going on here.”

More from Fox News:

Aside from the grandfathered gladesmen, the only air boating that will continue to be allowed in the eastern section of the Park will be four commercial air boat tour operators. They’ll no longer be independent, but will instead work as contractors for the park. Park officials will regulate their concessions and the number of runs they do.

At Coopertown Air Boat Tours—the oldest in the business, operating since 1945—73-year-old Jesse Kennon is lukewarm on the whole thing.

“You’re taking away something I’ve done for 60 years and now saying, ‘Okay, you’re going to do what I want you to do,'” he said. “I don’t mind working with the park, but I don’t like to work FOR the park.

“There’s a difference.”

State officials blame federal regulations for the rule change, saying that they have no choice but to enforce the new regulations.

The rules are set to go into full effect next year.

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Comments

I won’t cry if a few of those regulators go missing while on an airboat tour in the ‘glades. Lotsa gators and pythons out there. Just saying.

    platypus in reply to platypus. | September 18, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Just in case anybody was wondering about my comment, it’s sarc.

      Too late… the IRS, Justice Deaprtment and Homeland Security are requesting your IP address even as we speak 😉

      https://reason.com/blog/2015/06/25/how-the-feds-asked-me-to-rat-out-comment

      DuraMater in reply to platypus. | September 19, 2015 at 12:29 am

      I don’t see anything wrong with your statement, Platy. Nothing at all.

      Indeed, I think the best way to settle the whole dispute about who knows best when it comes to protecting our Florida wetlands and can live and work harmoniously in the everglades would be to place a team of 5 of EPA’s top Washington bureaucrats and another team consisting of 5 “gladesmen” in the swamp for three days and three nights. I’d volunteer to pick up the tab to outfit the DC boys with flashlight, hunting knife, glock and gigs for frogging. I’ll even spring for a Coleman stove. “Good luck, boys. Oh, and better mind the cotton mouth and gators.”

      And as their silhouette faded into the western sunset, I’d be smilin’ all the way back to Miami thinking how the federal budget would likely be relieved of five 7 figure salaries in less than 3 days and 3 nights. I would also be looking forward to feasting on a fine dinner of fried frog legs, upon the return of the team of “gladesmen”.

AP reported that over a dozen years’ worth of negotiation, deliberation, and compromise…

I seriously doubt any of that last word is correct.

“They’ll no longer be independent, but will instead work as contractors for the park. Park officials will regulate their concessions and the number of runs they do.”

That also means that Obama gets to shut them down and ruin even more peoples’ holidays in the event of a government shutdown.

He caused a lot of disruption to the tourism and fishing industry by closing down the ocean here last time. Now he can close down the everglades as well.

Yay, Big Government!

Should give a real leg-up to the foreign invasive species that Florida has been trying to get rid of. Just say’n.

I don’t have a problem with Congress protecting the Everglades or any other national parks in the USA. There comes a point when capitalism needs to be reigned in when it starts encroaching on areas that need to be protected. In the future the USA could be just one big paved parking lot.

    So what do you do for a living? Perhaps your little corner of capitalism could use some reigning in.

    Milhouse in reply to mwsomerset. | September 20, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Where in the constitution was Congress given the right to protect “national parks”? And to declare any place it likes a “national park” so it can “protect” it? The land doesn’t belong to Congress, so why does it get to say who does what there? If people ever choose to turn the country into a parking lot, why shouldn’t they?

The whole point of the park was to take the everglades away from the people who lived there.

“There comes a point when capitalism needs to be reigned in when it starts encroaching on areas that need to be protected. In the future the USA could be just one big paved parking lot.”

The annual visitors to Everglades National Park (ENP)in 1965? ~1 million people.

Annual visitation to ENP 2015 (50 years later, and an increase of 125 million more people in the U.S., that’s ~65% increase in U.S. Population)?

Sorry, posting via phone…

it’s still out 1 million visitors today.

Do all the research you want on the threats to ENP today, and air boats are so far down the list they are statistically insignificant. The biggest threats to ENP are not what goes on INSIDE the park, but what goes on OUTSIDE the park…water control (drainage of water to outside the park), development (agriculture, industry, and population growth causing runoff that goes into the park), and external activity that introduces non-native species into the park.

Suggesting limiting airboats in ENP will solve any of those threats is insane.

    DuraMater in reply to gulfbreeze. | September 19, 2015 at 12:57 am

    “…biggest threats to ENP are not what goes on INSIDE the park, but what goes on OUTSIDE the park…”

    1000% Correct. It has been my sad experience over the past 58 years to bear witness to the ravaging effects on this region, not only on the Everglades but greater Miami and Miami Beach as well.

I have yet to find…or have pointed out…anywhere in the Constitution where the central government can take lands except for very limited number of uses, none of which are consistent with “national parks”.

I have yet to see any national park that would not be better managed by the states.

    Good morning Ragspierre.
    I consistently enjoy your reasonable thinking and posts.

    My world was founded upon the individual first, local community second, State third.

    “State officials blame federal regulations for the rule change, saying that they have no choice but to enforce the new regulations.”

    What is this Overlord you speak of?

    That said… let us please “have no choice but to enforce” … All the Overlord’s Regulations equally.

      Ragspierre in reply to DB523. | September 19, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Thanks! And good morning to you!

      That Federal overlord needs to be kicked hard in the neithers by the resurgent states, IMNHO.

      One of the really effective reforms we could see adopted would be a move to divest the Federal government of all lands it now holds without Constitutional authority…which is almost all it holds now. The Framers knew that land was power, and they expressly restricted the land that the central government could hold against it’s proper owners.

    Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | September 20, 2015 at 3:27 am

    I have yet to find…or have pointed out…anywhere in the Constitution where the central government can take lands except for very limited number of uses, none of which are consistent with “national parks”.

    Actually the central government can take land for “public purposes”, which has no real definition, provided that it compensates the owner. But what isn’t in the constitution is a power to operate “national parks”.

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