18 | BoatU.S. Magazine OCTOBER | NOVEMBER 2013
High Court Deals Low Blow
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT HAS DECLINED TO HEAR a suit brought by the National Marine
Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and others that challenged the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) 2010 decision to allow gasoline containing 15-percent ethanol in the retail
marketplace. The original suit maintained that the EPA’s partial waiver allowing sale of E15 for
some engines and not for others violates the federal Clean Air Act and other laws. The EPA has
approved 15-percent ethanol as a fuel additive for vehicles in model year 2001 and newer. E15
has been shown to damage older automotive engines and inboard and outboard boat engines.
An NMMA spokeswoman said the coalition would shift its strategy to litigation alleging that
the EPA’s “misfueling mitigation plan” is insufficient to prevent the public from inadvertently
using E15 in engines not approved for its use, including all boat engines. The EPA preven-
tion initiative consists primarily of a 4-inch-square
orange sticker that retailers are required to affix to
pumps dispensing E15. The fuel already is showing
up in some Midwest states and test-market surveys
have shown that some stations in those states fail
to carry the warning sticker, much less label the
pumps as dispensing E15 at all. “E15 is out there,
and the Supreme Court decision means we’re likely
to see more of it in the marketplace,” says BoatU.S.
President Margaret Podlich. “If you buy boat gas at
service stations, always check the labels. If it’s not
clear what’s in the pump, ask.” — R.L.
STUDY FINDS CARP CAN
SPAWN IN GREAT LAKES
AU.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS) study released in June shows that the feared Asian
carp now headed up the Illinois River/
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal system toward the Great Lakes could be
right at home in the big water. That’s
if they make it past electrical barriers
and other measures to prevent their
spread. And if so, findings indicate
that two species of invasive Asian
carp — silver and bighead carp — may
be able to spawn in more Great Lakes
tributaries than previously thought.
The non-native fish threaten the $7 billion sportfishing industry on the Great
Lakes and could pose substantial environmental and economic problems,
should they become established.
This study determined that carp
could spawn successfully in river
stretches as short as 16 miles, far shorter than the 62 miles previously thought
to be required.
“If Asian carp spread into the Great
Lakes, knowing where to expect them
to spawn is a critical step in control,”
said USGS scientist Elizabeth Murphy.
A few weeks prior to the release
of the study findings, the Council of
Great Lakes Governors unveiled its
list of “least wanted” aquatic invasive
species. The list includes the infamous
Asian carp and six other fish, including
the notorious “Frankenfish,” the northern snakehead, plus three aquatic
invertebrates and five aquatic plants.
The council, which includes the premiers of Quebec and Ontario, pledged
various forms of executive action to
stop introductions and prevent trade
in species on the list. That could entail
closing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship
Canal system, now a key link for cruising boaters circuiting the eastern U.S.
via the Great Loop and a major commercial barge route. — R.L.
AFTER TWO YEARS OF NEAR-RECORD-LOW WATER LEVELS, it appears that the Great Lakes are back on the upward rise. Lake Superior posted a historic 9-inch increase last May, making that the second largest monthly increase since 1918.
Additionally, June saw a 4-inch increase in the lake’s water level. With more water coming
into Lake Superior, it’s no surprise that the other lakes have seen steady increases as well.
Lakes Michigan and Huron saw a 5-inch increase in May and a 4-inch increase in June. The
two lakes are forecast to be 12 to 13 inches above record lows by December.
In addition to this season’s water increase, experts believe that the coming winter will
bring in even more water for the spring of 2014. Meteorologists are predicting a cooler winter
with above-average precipitation. This new Great Lakes trend will relieve some frustration for
boaters who have had to limit their time on the water this season. Keep your fingers crossed
for a cold and snowy winter. — ZACHARY JOHNSON
GREAT LAKES ON THE RISE