Counties vow to fight restrictions near dams


Associated Press

Posted on December 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Counties in western Kentucky are vowing to fight a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to add restrictions to headwaters and tailwaters near Cumberland River dams.

The Corps' office in Nashville, Tenn., announced on Thursday a proposal to add restrictions for the safety of boaters.

Officials in western Kentucky counties said the restrictions aren't needed and would close some of the best fishing at Lake Barkley. Boaters above the Barkley Dam would be required to stay 400 feet away from the structure and boaters beneath it would be required to stay 700 feet away.

Nashville district commander Lt. Col. James A. Delapp said plans haven't been finalized, but call for a steel cable anchored with buoys to be stretched across the water in 2013.

Livingston County Judge-Executive Chris Lasher and Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White told The Paducah Sun ( that the regulation isn't needed and they would fight it.

"I am going to oppose this in every way possible," Lasher said. "Since the news broke about closures, I haven't met one person who is for it. This is part of our heritage. Their philosophy on the dangers doesn't have much backing."

White had a similar reaction.

"Most people understand the danger," White said. "They either stay away or they use the proper precaution. Our rescue crews respond more above the dam in the lake area than they do below the dam."

Delapp said the restrictions are based on a 1996 regulation that was never enforced. He says accidents and injuries have caused the agency to reconsider. He said three fatalities, one serious injury and 10 rescues have occurred on the Cumberland River and its tributaries.

Delapp said that the corps will hold public meetings on the proposal before it is finalized.

Both county officials in western Kentucky say tourism around the lake is a major part of the economy.

"We survive on tourism," White said. "Fishing is a tradition here. I went into those waters with my grandfather, and I take my kids to fish there. We won't go down without a fight."


Information from: The Paducah Sun,