Biden Undertakes ‘Greatest Regulatory Overreach in American Maritime Law’ with Huge Restriction for Eastern Seaboard

President Joe Biden’s administration has done plenty of federal overreach in the 50 states and numerous territories under U.S. control. Now, he’s extending the long arm of bureaucracy to the high seas. According to Fox News, the Biden administration is proposing limiting the speed of certain motorboats along the Atlantic coast in what one boating expert called “the greatest regulatory overreach in American maritime law.” The move is intended to protect an endangered species of whales — although federal officials admit only five of those whales have been killed by boats covered under the regulation in the past 15 years. As per an October news release from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, “the proposed rule would broaden the current 10-knot (11.5 mph) speed restriction to include vessels 35 feet and larger (down from 65 feet); expand the go-slow zones from discrete calving areas to essentially the whole Atlantic Coast and out as far as 90 miles from shore; and extend these zone restrictions for as long as seven months a year.” The area covered by the restriction would reach from Florida to Massachusetts. Fox reported the proposal was “put forward by the U.S. Commerce Department under the auspices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” “This would be the greatest regulatory overreach in American maritime law,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the NMMA. “Not only are they creating a serious safety issue, they are creating a massive negative economic impact.” As for the safety issue, Chris Edmonston, president of the Boat Owners Association of the United States, said boats usually can’t get on what’s known as a “plane” if they’re under 10 knots. Being on a plane means the bow of the boat can lower and pass through waves — at a fast enough speed, of course. Under that speed, the boat is tossed about. “The boats are designed to ride on top of the waves,” Edmonston said. “This is going to make them wallow in the waves — up and down, side to side, pitching. … It’s going to be hard to maintain control. You can take waves over the side.” Also, larger boats covered by the restrictions will have issues going through channels near the shore. “They can’t maintain steerage [at 10 knots],” he said. “If you’re going that speed you’re going to [run] aground.” As for the economic impact, pilot boat captain Trey Thompson said it will back up port traffic and render boats unusable. “The crew will be thrown around, tossed around, injured,” Thompson said, speaking from the stern of one of his pilot boats — traveling at 35 knots. “If we run at slow speeds, any side swell is going to make these boats roll.” It’s one of two 64-foot boats Thompson said he has purchased in the past year — both of which would be unusable under the new Biden administration restrictions. And then there’s the question of traffic. “The port will be closed any day it’s rough [or] windy. Not just this port. All the ports on the East Coast,” Thompson said. So, why enact a policy with so many downsides? It has to do with the endangered right whale, which, according to an NOAA spokesman, only has an oceanic population of 350. “This rule is designed to reduce the risk of mortalities from vessel strikes and afford the species a greater opportunity to recover,” the spokesman said. The problem? Only five of the whales have been killed in collisions with the vessels covered by the restrictions in the past 15 years. “It’s stupid,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “It’s not what government is supposed to do.” “This overreach is going to basically all but halt fishing off the East Coast of the United States,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “It will just keep people from fishing.” “Instead of getting to a [fishing] destination in an hour, you’re talking about something that’s going to take three to four hours both ways,” he added, making day fishing trips “impossible.” And then there’s the boat-building industry, which Pat Healey, owner of Viking Yachts, says would be “devastate[d]” by the regulations; all but one of his boats would be affected. “It’s going to have a tremendous impact on our employment,” he said. “1,600 boat builders. It’s going to wipe them out.” But what do you expect? With the stroke of a pen, Biden killed the Keystone XL Pipeline. He tried to wipe out billions in student loan debt, leaving those who paid their loans or never took them out in the first place to foot the bill. Do these people think trifles like their livelihoods and safety will stop the Biden administration? Get real. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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