Commonwealth Journal

News Live

June 3, 2013

Fishing restrictions lifted around dam

Somerset —

It’s not often that Somerset’s own Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers has had positive things to say about the actions of President Barack Obama. When it comes to Lake Cumberland, however, an exception may be made.
On Monday, Obama signed into law the “Freedom to Fish Act,” which effectively blocks the U.S. Corps of Engineers from restricting access to prime fishing spots near the recently-repaired Wolf Creek Dam. 
For Fifth District U.S. Rep. Rogers, the legislation is a step in the right direction for his home turf around Pulaski County, one of the major centers of the Lake Cumberland region.
“The ‘Freedom to Fish Act’ becoming law is a great way to start off the summer at Lake Cumberland, securing access to some of the best fishing spots near the dams along the Cumberland River,” said Rogers in a statement released Monday. “At Wolf Creek Dam, fishing and boating enthusiasts can expect to have one of the best seasons in six years with the completion of the $600 million rehabilitation project and higher lake levels,” the Congressman continued. “Thanks to a bipartisan, multi-state effort, this new law prevents physical barrier installation and makes sure Kentucky’s waterways are open.”
Kentucky legislators had fought hard to prevent the Corps of Engineers from erecting barriers to prevent fishing in the tailwaters, seeing this as a potential threat to the economic livelihood of an area that depends largely on lake tourism — which includes fishing.
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Louisville, the GOP’s Minority Leader in the U.S. Senate, sponsored the bill in that body of Congress. After being passed there May 16 and in the House of Representatives on May 21 (in an effort led by First District Rep. Ed Whitfield of Western Kentucky), all that remained was Obama’s signature for the bill to officially become law.

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