McConnell, Paul, Rogers and Whitfield Urge Feds to Restore Lake Cumberland Water Levels
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Congressmen Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Monday regarding a “matter of great concern to the economic wellbeing of the Lake Cumberland area in southeastern Kentucky.”
The members wrote, in a letter to Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Division Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Honorable Daniel M. Ashe, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that “the repair of the Wolf Creek Dam began in 2007 and has led to extremely low water levels that have damaged the area’s ability to attract tourists. The past seven years of reduced water levels have not only hurt small businesses that rely on tourism, but have also strained local governments as local towns have had to lower their water intake.
“Despite all of these serious economic concerns, on January 29, 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced its intent to further delay the raising of the water levels on Lake Cumberland. The Corps announced this was due to the presence of an endangered species of fish, the Duskytail Darter, in the lake’s tributaries, which requires the agencies to undertake a Biological Assessment designed to ‘minimize any potential impacts to this species.’
“We urge your agencies to immediately collaborate . . . in a manner that would allow for restoring the higher water levels on which the local community relies. It is critical that Lake Cumberland be able to raise water levels adequate to support tourism prior to the peak season in 2014. It is well past time for the lake to return to its full capacity.”
The McConnell, Paul, Rogers and Whitfield letter can be viewed HERE.