Kentucky State Agriculture Commission discusses bill that aims to speed up process of earthen dam repair

Republished from WEKU.

The state House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee discussed a bill Wednesday morning that would help address the state of earthen dams across Kentucky.

House Bill 130 would allow for the discontinuation of inactive watershed conservancy district boards after one year. Those boards are responsible for overseeing earthen dams, some of which have fallen into disrepair since their construction half a century ago.

There are currently 38 watershed conservancy districts across the state, and 200 dams constructed between the mid-1950s and 2009.

Agriculture Commission Chair Richard Heath, a Republican from District 2, explained the reasoning for the bill.

“The boards that have to make the decisions to ask for help, to ask for funds to do repairs, they weren’t active, they weren’t meeting, nothing could happen to repair a watershed dam without that board taking the first step,” Heath said.

Bill sponsor Shawn McPherson, a Republican from Kentucky’s 22nd District, says moving those responsibilities upward to the state’s soil and water conservation boards would help speed up the process to either repair or do away with those dams.

“We have federal monies that come down every year,” McPherson said. “But without matching monies, we just don’t have the ability to match this and to get these done, and to and to keep them maintained.”

The bill was passed in committee and is able to be read on the House floor.

Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.