Roby: Corps's One Year Suspension is "Good News" for Lake Eufaula Community
U.S Representative Martha Roby announced today that the Army Corps of Engineers approved a one-year suspension for the Shoreline Management Plan at Walter F. George Lake.
“My top priority is to listen to the concerns of my constituents and to serve as their voice in Washington. It is clear that the people who live, work and fish on Lake Eufaula care deeply about the well-being of the lake, and are strongly opposed to the proposed Shoreline Management Plan. I appreciate all of those that took time to contact me regarding this issue. I have received more than 100 calls, letters and emails in opposition to the plan.
“It was a pleasure to meet with Col. Steven Roemhildt, the Commander and District Engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, in my Capitol Hill office last week. I greatly appreciate his willingness to listen to the concerns of constituents in the area. I am pleased that he heard the message loud and clear.”
“The Corps’ decision to delay the implementation of a new Shoreline Management Plan is good news for the Lake Eufaula community. My understanding is that the status quo will remain in place for, at least, one year. My sense is that the Corps is now more willing to consider other, less onerous, alternatives in the future. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Col. Roemhildt on this issue as we move forward,” said Rep. Roby.
Upon hearing concerns from constituents within the region of Lake Eufaula, Rep. Roby visited the area to tour the lake, and meet with members of the Army Corps of Engineers and Friends of Lake Eufaula. During her visit, she also participated in a roundtable discussion with members of the Eufaula community, which included Eufaula Mayor Jay Jaxon.
According to a press release sent by the Army Corps of Engineers, E. Patrick Robbins, Chief of Legislative and Public Affairs for the Mobile District said, “During the 45 day comment period we received a large number of issues and concerns about the adequacy of the Environmental Assessment and about some of the proposed changes in the draft Shoreline Management Plan. In order to allow sufficient time to fully examine the issues raised, we could not meet the current schedule, so we are suspending the process.”
According to the Corps release, the suspension will also allow the update process to benefit from a regional effort by the South Atlantic Division to standardize SMPs across the nine projects and four Corps Districts that have such plans within the division.
“In the interim, to preserve the ability to move to regional consistency, new shoreline permits at Walter F. George Lake that authorize underbrushing will be issued for a one-year, fee prorated term and require strict adherence to the conditions in the Walter F. George Lake 2001 SMP,” Robbins said. “Existing permits that expire during the suspension period will be reissued for the normal term in accordance with the existing SMP.”
When the SMP update process is begun again, a revised schedule will be provided to the public and will provide for public meetings and a new comment period to ensure everyone has the opportunity to review and comment on any proposed changes.