Crowds Expected for Public Mtg. on Dam Restriction
By WestKyStar Staff
GRAND RIVERS, KY - They must have known this would happen.
A large crowd is expected to attend a meeting tonight at the Badgett Playhouse in Grand Rivers to discuss plans by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restrict water access to areas around Barkley Dam, and other dams on the Cumberland River and its tributaries.
The Corps describes the dams as industrial areas that are dangerous because of the hydroelectric, spilling, sluicing and lock operations that often begin with little or no notice. Turbulent boils and powerful currents are capable of swamping, capsizing, and even trapping boats and people in turbulent waters. Since 2009, three fatalities, one serious injury and ten near misses/rescues have occurred in hazardous waters immediately downstream of these dams. Use of life jackets has not been a factor, since all of the victims who drowned were wearing flotation devices.
Residents and business owners in the area are not fond of the plan to install signs, buoys and physical barriers at Barkley Dam, and the prohibition of boating, swimming and wading. Wade White, Lyon County Judge-Executive said he expects the theatre to have a capacity crowd.
"This move to barricade Barkley dam is going to be devastating to our local economy. We have well over 1,000 petition signers and we are outraged at this move. We have our legislators pushing back, but it's an uphill battle," White said in an email.
White and others who oppose the restrictions started an online petition with an area for comments to be posted on the site to track progress of the opposition. You can see their petition and updates at http://www.change.org/petitions/u-s-army-corps-of-engineers-stop-the-restriction-of-access-to-public-waterways?response=d41b0dfc5fd2
The Corps of Engineers policy to restrict access has been in place since 1996, but is now being implemented because of the recent fatalities and near-misses, which caused the Corps to re-evaluate the regulation. They determined that it was not being fully adhered to, so they decided to fully implement the policy to provide for the highest level of public safety, address physical security issues, and reduce the government’s liability. The Corps' website and information on their plans is at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/About/Organization/Operations/RestrictedAreasAroundDams.aspx