Sunday, September 16, 2001

Corps reconsiders plan to breach dam

The Associated Press

        BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is backing off a proposal to breach a dam along the Barren River.

        The corps' district office has decided to fill the lock chamber at Greencastle in Warren County but leave the dam intact, said Jane Ruhl, project manager for the corps.

        The reconsideration followed a meeting between corps officials and regional leaders. Bowling Green attorney Currie Milliken, who opposed removing the dam, said he was elated that the corps had changed its mind.

        “They still plan to fill in the lock chamber, which a lot of people don't agree with, but I don't think as a practical matter that we're going to see commercial navigation on the Barren River ever again, so I can understand their decision,” Mr. Milliken said.

        The corps' new recommendation still requires approval from corps offices in Cincinnati and Washington, D.C., but the approval is expected within the next week or two, Ms. Ruhl said.

        She said she could not give details about the corps' change of mind until the new recommendation is approved by corps leadership.

        But Warren County Judge-executive Mike Buchanon said arguments by the dam's supporters helped persuade the corps.

        Keeping the dam will help maintain an adequate drinking water supply, protect wildlife and maintain recreational opportunities, he said.

        While Warren County residents were pleased, others in the region are still worried about the corps' refusal to withdraw its recommendations for other locks and dams, Edmonson County Judge-executive N.E. Reed said.

        The corps' original plan called for filling lock chambers at Barren River Lock and Dam No. 1 and Green River Locks and Dams Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6, and destruction of the dams at Greencastle and at Green River Lock and Dam No. 6 in Brownsville. The corps made its original proposal because the locks and dams are no longer used for commercial navigation.

        “We're going to continue to do everything we can to save (Green River) Lock and Dam No. 6,” Mr. Reed said Friday.


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