June 11, 2009 - Issue: Vol. 155, No. 87 — Daily Edition111th Congress (2009 - 2010) - 1st Session
INTRODUCING LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN KENTUCKY; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 87
(Extensions of Remarks - June 11, 2009)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E1376] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCING LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN KENTUCKY ______ HON. HAROLD ROGERS of kentucky in the house of representatives Thursday, June 11, 2009 Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Madam Speaker, today I rise with my colleague and fellow Kentuckian, Congressman Ed Whitfield, to raise awareness about an important issue impacting a number of small businesses in our region of the country. Scenic Lake Cumberland has been the hub of economic development in our area of southern Kentucky for years. Some 4 million visitors stop by every year to take advantage of the lake's many attractions--world class bass fishing, relaxing atop a custom built houseboat, or boating with family and friends. These visitors pump over $70 million into our local economy, benefiting a wide array of businesses in the surrounding counties. However, with our nation's economy floundering and the Commonwealth's unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent hovering above the national average, the houseboat and marina industries surrounding Lake Cumberland are hemorrhaging--and so too are our people whose livelihoods rely on the lake as a lifeline. While the overall economy is part of the problem, business conditions at Lake Cumberland have suffered an even greater share in large part due to a long delayed and deferred federal rehabilitation and construction project at Wolf Creek Dam. An unfortunate consequence of construction at the dam has been the necessity to temporarily lower the pool of the lake from the traditional level of 720 feet to 680 feet. This significant drawdown has had a substantial adverse impact on the ten local concessionaries leasing marina space from the Corps of Engineers. 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 legislation we've introduced today ensures that the federal government fulfills its obligation to those concessionaries with which it has entered into leasing agreements and provides some relief for these unforeseeable expenses that have the potential to set back the economy of an entire region. These measures include suspending burdensome rental payments until it is safe to restore the lake level, as well as reimbursing marina operators for expenses directly tied to this continued drawdown. Finally, the bill makes whole the surrounding communities that rely heavily on these rental payments. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been tasked and is hard at work with correcting structural issues with the dam to shore up the dam for future generations to enjoy, and Congress has diligently provided vital funds for the continuation of this project. I have no argument with this work or the funding. However, no 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. ____________________