SMMBA Press Release

Press Release Smith Mountain Marine Business Association -- In Support of Virginia Property Rights

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia (02 November 2014). The Smith Mountain Marine Business Association (SMMBA) represents marine related businesses that serve the communities of Smith Mountain and Leesville Lakes.  Our perspective regarding the persistent issues of Shoreline Management are two fold (1) lessen the negative impact of unneeded Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) regulation on our business members, citizens that make use of our services, and the local economy, and (2) in doing so, protect the inherent recorded rights of every property owner on Smith Mountain Lake.

Since September 2003, the implementation of the SMP has hurt our local economy, resulted in jobs losses, increased the cost of doing business, discouraged private investment, added to the decline of real estate values and lowered revenues available to the surrounding counties.   Our members remaining in business reflect that pre-SMP it took only a few days to get necessary permits and schedule inspections.  Post-SMP implementation, permits and inspections now take weeks to months to obtain, making it impossible to efficiently schedule work.  Pre-SMP, businesses spent time marketing and developing business; post-SMP, businesses spend that time processing and re-processing permits.  This has cost our community dearly and many long-time profitable businesses have disappeared, taking with them jobs and revenues that benefited our community.

Probably the most frustrating aspect of SMP regulation is that it is unnecessary, ill-conceived, and arbitrary in its enforcement.  The US Coast Guard has authority to regulate navigation and boater safety; the Army Corps of Engineers has authority to regulate dredging, shoreline stabilization and delineation and protection of wetlands;  the Environmental Protection Agency has authority over water quality and wetlands; the US Fish and Wildlife Service protects endangered species and wetlands; the Virginia resource agencies (Department of Environmental Quality, Department of  Conservation and Recreation and Department of Game and In-land Fisheries) implement federal regulations and develop policies that flow to the individual Counties to enforce; and Counties regulate land use and development.  Our community neither needs nor requires duplicative, inconsistent and constantly changing SMP requirements or interpretations of requirements.

As Virginians and small business owners, we harbor great reverence for private investment and property rights, and we are justly guarded when it comes to overreaching Federal regulation.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) only has regulatory over its licensees; its authority by law cannot reach beyond its licensee.  Appalachian Power (APCO) has no Federal authority to change property rights with its license or SMP.   APCO has no Federal authority to require a property owner sign a Permit that limits/takes that owner’s property rights.  The Federal Power Act and FERC’s license require property disputes to be resolved in State court.  But rather than follow its license requirements to resolve property disputes, APCO instead created a Federal case to cloud its lack of necessary property rights to implement its SMP.  APCO’s view is unsupported by Federal law and their Federal license.

In APCO’s most recent and current Federal lawsuit to assault our property rights, SMMBA and its members are in full support of the Nissen family’s right to build their dock upon the land they own, consistent with their recorded deed and flowage easement.   This is everyone’s fight because the outcome of the litigation APCO initiated will affect the property rights of all lake front owners.  Our community must advance a united front to vigorously defend our rights as Virginians to enjoy and use our property, consistent with recorded property rights and the laws of our Commonwealth.

We urge everyone to support this fight with your anonymous donations to:   Cut Unnecessary Regulatory Burden, Inc. (CURB) 81 Lighthouse LN, Moneta, VA 24121 or on-line at www.curb-ferc-aep.com.

Contact for further Information:

 

Bruce Shelton

SMMBA President

(540) 355-1096