Nashville, Tenn. —
“When that many people unite as one to stand against such a wrongheaded proposal, you’d think this administration would to listen. They didn’t. So today, we are sending them a message by passing legislation to block them from restricting fishing access to Cumberland River. I urge the President to sign it into law without delay.”
Somerset’s own Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, the Fifth District Republican from the House of Representatives, was likewise pleased with the action.
“With lake levels rising, folks are gassing up their boats and getting excited about the 2013 summer season," said Rogers. "The 'Freedom to Fish Act' will ensure lake enthusiasts have full access to prime fishing spots. This legislation keeps the Corps from moving forward with physical barriers, while allowing for signage and alert systems to inform individuals of potential water-flow changes.
“Communities around Kentucky’s fine lakes rose up in opposition to the Corps’ policy and now have reason to celebrate and fish to catch,” he added.
During an informational meeting January 24 at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, fishermen mingled among politicians and public officials, almost all expressing opposition to implementing no-access areas close to Wolf Creek Dam. Fishermen say the area near the dam is one of the top five fishing spots in Kentucky.
McConnell on March 19 met with Lt. Col. Jim DeLapp, Nashville commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to discuss the Corps’ barricade plan. In the meeting, McConnell reiterated his opposition to the Corps’ plan and said he will continue to work to prevent them from installing the barricades.
Senators McConnell, Rand Paul, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker introduced on February 28 the Freedom to Fish Act that would prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from installing physical barriers along portions of the Cumberland River, which would block fishing access to the tailwaters of the Barkley and Wolf Creek dams. Congressman Whitfield (R-KY) introduced the House companion bill.