U.S. Representatives Hal Rogers (KY-05) and Ed-Whitfield (KY-01) introduced legislation today to help marina operators in the Lake Cumberland region whose operations have been hurt by lower water levels at the popular tourist site. Lake levels have been lowered to accommodate emergency repairs at Wolf Creek Dam.
“Scenic Lake Cumberland has been the hub of economic development in our area of southern Kentucky for years,” said Congressman Rogers. “Many marinas have had to incur tremendous expenses to accommodate the lower pool, such as relocation and investments in additional infrastructure, and these unanticipated expenses have significantly disrupted their cash flow. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been tasked and is hard at work with correcting structural issues with the dam, and Congress has diligently provided vital funds for the continuation of this project. I have no argument with this work or the funding. However, insufficient relief has been made available to those who have tied their livelihoods to this lake and who, through no fault of their own, are enduring a government-induced hardship. The bill introduced today will correct this and provide some measure of relief to the hardworking small business owners scattered along beautiful Lake Cumberland.”
“Lake Cumberland is a vibrant part of the Kentucky culture and a vital part of the local economies surrounding the lake,” Whitfield said. “During tough financial times, we need to do all that we can to protect small businesses and help spur economic growth. This legislation will help safeguard the critical tourism industry in the Lake Cumberland region, ensuring a bright and prosperous future for the entire region.”
Rogers and Whitfield introduced H.R. 2821, legislation to assist counties and marinas adversely affected by the Wolf Creek Dam rehabilitation project. The bill would suspend lease payments for marina owners on Lake Cumberland until higher water levels are restored and reimburse these businesses for losses in revenue, costs of relocating on Lake Cumberland and interest payments on loans undertaken as a result of the project. To ensure county governments surrounding Lake Cumberland do not lose funding they otherwise would have received from marina lease payments, the legislation directs the Corps of Engineers to reimburse the counties for lost revenue.
Rehabilitation of Wolf Creek Dam has been underway for several years to ensure the safety and health of residents living in the Dam’s surrounding communities. However, this rehabilitation has resulted in lower water levels on Lake Cumberland which has adversely affected tourism and recreation at the popular lake. The legislation introduced today by Rogers and Whitfield will help marina operators in the area maintain their operations, aiding the local economy and helping to ensure tourism in the area continues to thrive.
Often referred to as the “Houseboat Capitol of the World,” Lake Cumberland has been the hub of economic development in the region for many years. An estimated 4 million visitors travel to Lake Cumberland every year to take advantage of the lake’s many attractions, including world class bass fishing and boating. Visitors contribute $70 million annually to the local economy, benefitting a wide array of businesses in the surrounding counties.