Sunday, January 10, 2010
There is a red-hot controversy brewing out on the frozen St. Croix River. The U.S. Coast Guard is considering pulling 15 navigational buoys from 25 miles of the river this spring. Boaters are unhappy about the proposal. They say the move would be akin to removing stop signs or stop lights from city streets. Joe Riley of Windmill Marina called the proposal totally ridiculous. He said, "It is ridiculous to be removing those buoys. They have been there for 50-60 years they are needed for safe navigational pleasure craft commercial vessels and charter boats."The Coast Guard said the St. Croix is a recreational waterway, not a commercial route where such buoys are normally found. The Coast Guard said its boats and crews are not equipped to reach and maintain the buoys each year without putting personnel at risk. Mike O'Berry with the Coast Guard said it costs nearly $1,000 to maintain the buoys. He said, "It is better for us to allocate those resources to commercially trafficked rivers." The Coast Guard is planning a public hearing on the proposal for sometime in February.