TABLE ROCK LAKE, Mo. – Boat dock owners may have to shell out some green to cover a push by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to go green.
A new proposal, tied to the latest draft of the Table Rock Lake Shoreline Management Plan, would require boat docks to be powered by an alternative electricity source like solar panels by the end of 2027.
“To make existing docks retrofit after they’ve already invested in electricity, I don’t see how you can mandate that,” says David Casaletto, who owns two boat slips on Table Rock Lake.
In addition to having a personal interest in the Shoreline Management Plan, Casaletto, who is the director of the environmental group Ozarks Water Watch, also sat in on the focus group discussions tied to the latest draft.
He doesn’t have an issue with the rule that requires newly-installed boat docks to use an alternative energy source, but he believes the 1300 docks that would be impacted by the proposal – 70% of all docks on the lake – should be grandfathered in.
“Just the solar is $4500,” he says, “and I don’t know what it will cost to remove the poles and restore the ground.”
Casaletto says new government regulations should always factor affordability into the equation.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t have an estimate on what the proposal could cost dock and slip owners. However, it believes removing electrical lines tied to the shoreline, many that currently hang over the water is a step in the right direction.
“We’re trying to be greener -looking for that renewable energy source,” says Corps Project Manager, Dana Coburn, “and then in some regards, it’s a bit safer.”
“If we do go to a solar or wind power or other alternative power source, I think it’s less likely impacted if we have a high water event,” she says.
But Casaletto says the current system being used on Table Rock Lake is safe. He says electrocutions, like those at Lake of Ozarks in years past, aren’t an issue due to the inspection standards the Corps currently has in place.
“That’s why we have not had the problem here,” he says. “So they’re fixing a problem that doesn’t exist and we’re ending up paying for it as slip owners.”
The Corps says the new proposal, like all proposals in the latest draft, isn’t set in stone. It’s encouraging residents to voice their opinion during the public comment period.