Diamond Cup lawsuit threatened

KEA, anglers association may seek legal action

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COEUR d'ALENE - An attorney representing a conservation organization and fishermen's group said they plan to fight in court to stop any permit issued for this summer's Diamond Cup.

Attorney Scott Reed submitted a letter late this week to the Idaho Department of Lands, the agency charged with processing any permit application for the hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene. If a permit is approved by the agency, he promised to spring into action.

"My clients would be inclined to appeal that approval to a district court, seeking an injunction to stop the issuance of the permit and the completion of whatever is necessary to put on the race," Reed wrote in his April 2 letter.

Reed represents both the Lake Coeur d'Alene Anglers Association and Kootenai Environmental Alliance.

"I would anticipate that opponents would be able to present petitions containing opposition with at least 500 names and possibly quite a few more," Reed wrote. "Kootenai Environmental Alliance has a record for circulating this kind of protest that I am describing."

The anglers association complained about ropes for race course buoys and log booms, which lingered in the lake for months after last summer's race. Fishermen complained they were snagging the ropes, putting themselves and their equipment in danger.

"It created a huge mess in the lake," and hydroplane race organizers didn't meet their obligations under the temporary permit last year, Adrienne Cronebaugh, executive director of KEA, said Friday. "We absolutely do oppose it."

Buoys and log booms were linked by the ropes to anchors on the lake bottom. The anchors can stir up sediments, which contain heavy metals, Cronebaugh said.

Diamond Cup president Doug Miller said race organizers will ultimately get a permit for the 2014 race, but they haven't completed the application yet.

"Probably not going to have all our permits done until the end or middle of June," said Miller, the head of Diamond Cup. "We're getting stuff done every week."

Tom Fleer, area manager for the Department of Lands in Coeur d'Alene, said the agency hasn't received a complete application from Diamond Cup organizers.

He said the department needs more information, including setup and cleanup timelines and how long the lake will be used.

Diamond Cup organizers will be applying for a long-term permit, Fleer said.

It can take as long as 120 days to process the permit once it's fully submitted.

The permit process will include public notice published in The Press. Analysis of the application will be completed by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Public comment also will be accepted, Fleer said.

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