Author Topic: Richard's State Director's Update 2/11/2015  (Read 8262 times)

Rich Robinson

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Richard's State Director's Update 2/11/2015
« on: February 12, 2015, 11:01:06 AM »
Hello Coker Creek Chapter Members,
I have been relatively quiet for a while, but I have been very busy working for our prospecting community. I will have a lot to cover at the February meeting so be prepared for a lot of information that is coming there. I have been working on three big issues at the same time that all have similar deadlines but I think you will all be happy with the progress. I am going to address each issue in the order of their priority for me... Please know that my first priority is to get us back in the water with Class 2 equipment... So the Individual ARAP is the fastest way to accomplish that...

1. The GPAA Individual ARAP - The IP is progressing well and we are now in the public notice period... I posted the Public notice signs in Monroe and Polk Counties almost 2 weeks ago. There are 4 signs; 1 at the kiosk entering the Cherohala Skyway near the Tellico Ranger Station, 1 beside the Welcome Center at Coker Creek, 1 at our Rooster Ridge GPAA property and 1 at the T where you can go to Coker Creek Falls or Lower Coker Creek. The Public Notice ran in one of the newspapers in Monroe County on Monday of this week.  The TDEC public notice was posted on their website on Tuesday the February 10th. So, starting February 10th, the 30 day public notice period started... So if all goes well we will be back in the water in Mid-March in the Tellico Ranger District and Lower Coker Creek....

2. New General ARAP Rules - I am sure that all of you were unaware of this fact, as was I, and I will take responsibility for the oversight, but TDEC conducted a public hearing on the new General ARAP on January 13th. They issued the public notice for this hearing in November... We were not expecting this hearing to take place in April but it was moved up. Now before you get upset, TDEC contacted me directly on the 14th to let me know they needed my comments. I got the comments in within 3 days, in plenty of times to have Legal Standing. I have been working with them on a regular basis as they work on the new rules. There should be come good changes coming that will make the process of obtaining the permit easier, the rules more prospector friendly, and the cost of the permit much more realistic...

3. I have also be working for the past few months with members of the Tennessee General Assembly on legislation that will set reasonable guidelines for "Small Scale Non-Commercial Prospecting in Tennessee". The Legislation has been drafted and bills have been filed in the House and Senate. On February 11th I presented to the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and I will be presenting to the House of Representatives Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the next 2 weeks. Senator Frank Nicely is our Senate Sponsor on the Senate Bill. Deputy Speaker of the House Steve McDaniel is the Sponsor of the House Bill. Soon I will be asking all of you to contact your legislators to help rally support for the legislation, but it is not time for that yet... Both bills will come up for their first readings before their respective chambers within weeks. Make no mistake though, this can and will likely be a lengthy process. The bills have 3 readings before their respective chambers before that can be sent to the Governor for signature. Also there will be changes and amendments to the bill as it moves through the process.

 I am spending a lot of time meeting with stakeholders while all of this is happening, meeting with legislators, TWRA, and other organizations who we share the waterways with, using meetings to educate them about our hobby and looking for ways that we can work together for mutual benefits. We can partner with other interest groups and help each other.

TDEC has come to the table with and offered to work with us to make the general ARAP better. So far it is looking a lot better... After my presentation to the Senate, Jonathon Burr Addressed the Committee and he stated that TDEC had not gotten the permit right and told the Senators on the Committee that TDEC is committed to working with us to get this permit right. He was very complimentary of the GPAA and those of us who have been working with TDEC on getting this permit issued. I believe we are very close to getting something we can live with everyone.  Before the hearing yesterday, I met with 2 Attorney's from TDEC, Jonathon Burr and Senator Nicely, and another meeting with Deputy Speaker of the House, Representative Steve McDaniel and we worked through some of the biggest issues. How to regulate Dredges is the hardest to get through, but I think we are close on how to deal with it in a way that will work for all of us... as well as other stake holders. (others who we share the waterways with)

Please feel free to PM me on the forum if you have any questions for me. I want to ask all of you to be patient. Please do not use the forum to slam those who are making efforts to work with us. I will always promote the idea of partnering with the agencies and organizations who we share the waterways with. We all enjoy the waterways differently so we need to be respectful of others and conscious of others rights to enjoy the waterways we share.

I look forward to your questions and I look forward to sharing more with you at the February meeting...

Richard




Former Tennessee State Director rrobinson1791@gmail.com
615-587-3397

aufrank

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Re: Richard's State Director's Update 2/11/2015
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2015, 11:57:13 AM »
Thank you Rich for all of your hard work.   You give us hope that the system can work with good, reasonable people. 

None of us want to harm the environment, but we do want to be able to enjoy our public and private land in a responsible manner.

hillbillygold

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Re: Richard's State Director's Update 2/11/2015
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2015, 01:04:46 PM »
For those with internet access....  TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY   HB 0442 and SB 0390  :) :) :)

hillbillygold

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Re: Richard's State Director's Update 2/11/2015
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2015, 01:22:42 PM »
 :) Here is the link

chiptrip

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Re: Richard's State Director's Update 2/11/2015
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2015, 01:35:18 PM »
http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/Billinfo/default.aspx?BillNumber=SB0390&ga=109  May be an easier way to keep up with the bill, in both the House and Senate.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 01:37:06 PM by chiptrip »
Coker Creek Chapter President 2015-2017

Rich Robinson

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Re: Richard's State Director's Update 2/11/2015
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2015, 02:28:22 PM »
Hi everyone,
     Please keep in mind that this is a process and will take some time. The bills have been introduced and I have presented to the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. I was scheduled to present to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee yesterday. That presentation was rescheduled due to weather and will take place the first week of March...

    There will also be amendments to the bills as they go through the process. There are a number of changes that need to be made, but we were under the gun to get them filed before February 12, which was the deadline for filing legislation to be considered during this session. Otherwise it could have not been filed until next year. So if you go to the General Assembly website and read the bills, you will find that right now they are the same except for the bill number. SB 0390 in the Senate and HB 0442 in the House.

     I am continuing to meet with TDEC to discuss the new 2015 General ARAP rules for Tennessee. They are working to get them right so they not only work for them but also for us. This is important to us because once we can work out the General ARAP rules, they will become the basis for our legislation... For those of you who have reviewed the Individual ARAP Permit, you will notice that it was the basis for the legislation we just filed...

     We also have to keep in mind that TDEC is not the only interested party here... There are other agencies who have an interest in this permit and legislation. TWRA also has input, as well as the Tennessee Wildlife Federation and other Conservation Groups. As Prospectors we have to promote the fact that we are conservation minded. We will need to work with these groups as well as TDEC....

     I will be meeting with these groups to discuss their concerns as we move forward and working with them to insure that we are all able to enjoy the waterways while conserving and preserving the natural resources into the future.  An example of something we will need to be conscious of is spawning seasons. We will very likely not be able dredge during that time in the streams relevant to trout... But that is just an example. 

     There will also be other changes in language such as removing the word "permit". We do not want to legislate a Permit. There will also be changes to the dredging regulations. The name of the activity we are involved will change slightly. Our Activity will be called, "Small Scale Non-Commercial Prospecting". TDEC will also be using this as the name of our activity. In fact, when the new General ARAP comes out , that change will likely be reflected there. That was discussed at length with TDEC , Myself and the legislators we met with last week.

I will continue to keep you all updated as we go... Please feel free to ask questions or make suggestions anytime... Thank you all again for all of the support...

Richard
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 02:37:27 PM by Rich Robinson »
Former Tennessee State Director rrobinson1791@gmail.com
615-587-3397