Elected officials concerned Army Corps withholding information


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - David Dycus

LYON COUNTY, Ky. - Sorting through hundreds of pages, Judge Executive Wade White stops on a page covered in a maroon-colored block.

"This is the kind of stuff I get," he said, adding, "Page after page of redacted information."

He is looking to find out how the Corps can change their plan after 17 years. The Army Corps of Engineers has proposed barricades at Barkley Dam citing safety concerns. The Corps plans to install barricades above and below 10 Kentucky and Tennessee Dams. The idea is to keep people safe by preventing them from getting too close.

But in that 1996 plan, it reads, "The danger buoys and signs provide sufficient warning of the hazards and there is no need for a barricade."

White is trying to figure out what changed in those 17 years. But if something did, he says his involvement is spelled out in that plan.

"If they go to change it, they've got to work with state and local officials, that's us."

Congressman Ed Whitfield was after the documents that led to the decision to install those barricades. He says the Corps said they would take months to locate.

"You would certainly think they have that," he said during an interview Thursday.

For their part, the Corps said this, "The District informed him that his large request would take additional time to process. The Congressman requested information that spans over two decades of documentation and electronic information."

Additionally, spokesman Bill Peoples tells Local 6, "We have also responded to numerous Freedom of Information Act requests by providing all of the information which the law would allow."

Still Whitfield says he has been continually 'disappointed.'

"It almost seems ridiculous in a way. Elected officials, state officials all disagree with this, yet this agency is determined they want to do it anyway."

Wade White calls the Corps' actions infuriating, "I do have plans B,C, and D and I'm going to continue until we have victory on this."

White says he has to have a back up plan because of economics. He worries if people are not able to fish where they want at Barkley Dam, they will go elsewhere and take their dollars with them. He also says it is an issue of freedom. He says if the Army Corps of Engineers goes ahead with these barricades, he worries they'll target neighboring lakes and beaches next.

Leaders including White, Whitfield and Kentucky Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell will gather Saturday at Barkley Dam. The rally, set to begin at 11, will happen on the Lyon County side of the dam.