FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 25, 2018
Contact: Press@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul released the following statement applauding President Trump for signing the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 into law, which includes several of Sen. Paul’s Kentucky priorities, including those to solve issues at Rough River Lake and Lake Cumberland:
“After years of work advocating on behalf of the Rough River Lake and Lake Cumberland communities, I was proud to have my legislative provisions solving their issues included in the water infrastructure bill, and I am thrilled that the President has now signed it into law. These types of victories for our Commonwealth come from listening to the needs of Kentuckians and working together to find solutions. I remain committed to always defending Kentucky from government overreach, and I look forward to sharing the good news with these communities in person very soon.”
ROUGH RIVER LAKE PROVISION – From Day 1, beginning in January of 2017 when the issue first arose, Sen. Paul and his staff have led the charge on behalf of the Rough River Lake community and their conflict with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the implementation of the Corps’ Flowage Easement Encroachment Resolution Plan. Over the past 21 months, Sen. Paul has held multiple in-person meetings in Kentucky with affected residents, held several meetings with Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James to ask for assistance in resolving this and other Kentucky issues, introduced amendments to prevent fees from being imposed on residents, and directed his staff to hold office hours in the community. Knowing how important this issue was, Sen. Paul refused to support the original water infrastructure bill while it was being constructed in committee until until his provisions were included, and he succeeded. The final language included in the Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 prohibits the imposition of administrative fees around Rough River Lake and provides for the reimbursement of those fees to eligible property owners.
Rough River Lake Flowage Easement Encroachment Resolution Plan:
This plan, which the previous Army Corps director signed in the final days of the Obama administration, has been a bureaucratic and financial nightmare for residents around Rough River Lake. Last year, the Corps notified hundreds of residents that their homes are in or below the Corps’ easement around the lake, and that the residents are each responsible for paying thousands of dollars in administrative fees, survey fees, and possible costs of structural relocation to comply with the Corps’ demands related to the easement. This is due to the Army Corps improperly measuring their easement around the lake in the 1950s, allowing decades of construction around the lake without any notice to residents, and waiting until 2017 to tell residents that their homes were in violation of their easement.
LAKE CUMBERLAND PROVISION — Similar to his actions on Rough River Lake, Sen. Paul has long been advocating for the Lake Cumberland area cities and businesses that were faced with the prospect of paying fees to use water from the lake (which they had already been using for years). Furthermore, the unaffordable fees would have been passed on to residents, which was an unfair tax. Over the past several years, Sen. Paul has held many roundtables and town halls in Kentucky with affected businesses and residents, community leaders, and local officials to try and solve this problem. In addition to asking Assistant Secretary R.D. James for assistance with this issue during their meetings and through correspondence, Sen. Paul has introduced numerous amendments and legislation to block the fees. He secured language in this year’s water infrastructure bill, and prevents the Secretary of the Army from charging a fee for surplus water if the contract is for surplus water stored in the Lake Cumberland Watershed.
For many years, the Corps has been attempting to begin a process, which will lead to fees on surrounding cities and businesses that use Lake Cumberland for their water supply. A major concern is that entering into long-term water supply contracts with the Corps will result in unaffordable costs being passed onto residents around Lake Cumberland —the $600 million price tag of rehabilitating Wolf Creek Dam is still fresh on their minds. This has been an issue at other lakes around the state, too, including Laurel River Lake and Barren River Lake.