– Saturday, at Nitti's
Hunters Point Resort on Mille Lacs Lake, U.S. Representative Chip
Cravaack (MN) announced he will introduce The Mille Lacs Lake Freedom to
Fish Act. Specifically, this legislation regards Minnesota’s
state sovereignty, job creation, cutting federal red tape, and strengthening
Minnesota’s outdoor fishing traditionCiting
a 30-year old analysis, the U.S. Coast Guard has assumed federal authority over
certain activities on Mille Lacs Lake.
Currently, the U.S. Coast Guard is
forcing all fishing guides, mostly college students, to spend time and money to
obtain a federal boating license to bring fishermen out on Mille Lacs Lake.
This license and associated costs put fishing guides on the hook for over
new Coast Guard regulation, being funded at taxpayer expense, is taking a toll
on the Mille Lacs Lake resort-based economy and is making fishing more
expensive. I plan to introduce legislation next week that will remove
this over-regulation and keep Mille Lacs Lake under Minnesota control,” said
Rep. Cravaack. “I appreciate all the Coast Guard does, but the DNR
already patrols Mille Lacs Lake. The Coast Guard’s authority over the
lake is an intrusion; it’s redundant, excessive, and duplicative.”
March 2010, the U.S. Coast Guard ruled that Mille Lacs Lake was a federally
navigable body of water, based on historical interstate commerce.
Specifically, the Coast Guard justified its overreach by using a U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers ruling, which maintains that because fur traders and
lumberjacks utilized the Lake and the Rum River in the 1700s and 1800s, the
lake is deemed a federally navigable water body.
Rum River is currently dammed at Anoka, and the last log floated on the Lake
was in 1904.
bottom line is the cost the federal government is imposing on obtaining the
TWIC license for maritime workers and the six-pack certification for
captains. Less control from the federal government on Mille Lacs Lake is
a good thing. By federalizing the licensing process, jobs are being taken
away. Although I have a Masters License, at my age I’m doubtful I could
obtain the licensing due to the cost of the coursework,” said George Nitti,
Owner of Nitti's Hunters Point Resort.
Cravaack added, “The state has rules and inspection procedures in place to keep
its residents safe and is perfectly capable of enforcing boating laws.
Ultimately, Mille Lacs Lake belongs to Minnesotans and should not be controlled
by federal government bureaucrats. My legislation will stop fishing
guides from being forced to spend over $2000 to obtain a license they don’t
need and end the Coast Guard’s intrusive overreach into Minnesota’s great fishing