Making the freedom to fish final


Reporter- Briana Conner
Photographer- Mason Watkins

 LYON COUNTY, Ky.— Two local counties are celebrating a victory. Tuesday afternoon, Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield joined the Lyon and Livingston county judge executives in a ceremonial signing for the permanent Freedom to Fish Act.

The original piece of legislation passed in early June, but only put a two-year ban on the Army Corps of Engineers' restrictions. The new bill will permanently bar the corps from blocking boaters from the waters above and below the dams it manages.

The new bill has passed in both the Senate and the House, and President Obama is expected to sign it. It's a victory local and state leaders point to as an example of what can happen when the government works the way it's supposed to.

"It took a lot of grassroots effort, that's for sure," said Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White. The campaign against the army corps reeled in support from fisherman all the way up to congressmen. "One of the most important things a congressman or senator can do is protect the right of an individual. That's basically what they were doing here," said White.

The right to fish near The Cumberland River dams is now on its way to being permanently protected. Rep. Whitfield said, "We were able to get a permanent prohibition so the corps is prohibited from stopping the fishing around here permanently." He also said this latest victory is an example of democracy the way it was designed to be. "I think it worked out well. It demonstrated the government can work and government can listen to local communities."

Two local communities that will able to fish freely here were in a mode of celebration. White said, "Those are individual rights that we have grown used to. They're part of our culture. We weren't gonna stand by and let that be taken away." They are rights that will soon be signed in black and white.