U. S. Senator Rand Paul recently added amendment # 5068 to S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act, to prevent Kentuckians relying on Lake Cumberland as a source of water from having to pay user fees. In September, S. 2848, with Paul’s amendment, passed the U. S. Senate with a vote of 95 to 3.
Senator Paul’s amendment prevents the Army Corps of Engineers from charging eleven businesses and municipalities (including McCreary County) a one-time user fee and an annual operation and maintenance fee to access the water in Lake Cumberland. Although McCreary County is rarely associated with Lake Cumberland, the County is subject to the charges since Lake Cumberland water backs up into the Big South Fork River where the county intakes water at Big Creek. In addition to a permanent storage fee, the McCreary County Water District would be required to make annual payments to help with operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, and restoration costs for the Wolf Creek Dam impounding Lake Cumberland.
“Taking action on behalf of Kentuckians is one of my most important responsibilities in the Senate, so I am pleased that these actions have yielded a positive result for Lake Cumberland’s surrounding communities that would help protect families from paying higher water bills and prevent government from further hindering our employers’ competitiveness,” Senator Paul stated. “I know how important this issue is for the affected communities, so I will continue working in Congress and with local officials to shield them from these charges.”
The Army Corps of Engineers is currently in the process of studying Lake Cumberland/Wolf Creek Dam to determine how much the eleven municipalities and industries will have to pay the Corps for using water from Lake Cumberland and for operation and maintenance of the dam.
The bill, with Paul’s amendment, must pass the U. S. House of Representatives and be signed by the President before becoming law.