Governor Robert Bentley on Friday sent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a strongly-worded letter urging reconsideration of a decision regarding lock usage along two rivers in Alabama.
The Corps recently announced cost-cutting measures that impact the Alabama River and the Chattahoochee River. Beginning in October of 2012, recreational vehicle usage will be reduced, and commercial vehicle use of the river locks at Miller's Ferry Lock and Dam in Wilcox County, Claiborne Lock and Dam in Monroe County, Walter F. George Lock and Dam in Barbour County, and George Andrews Lock and Dam in Houston County will be available by appointment only. In the letter to the Corps, Governor Bentley said the Corps navigation decision will financially hurt regions of Alabama. Cities and counties along both rivers depend on the river for their economic vitality.
"The rivers in Alabama are extremely important for recreational use in some very unique places in Alabama," Governor Bentley said. "It is also my priority to promote economic development and job creation. Our waterways play a major role in transporting goods through the state. Reducing the level of service on Alabama rivers will significantly harm economic development. I strongly urge the Corps to reverse its decision and not reduce the level of service for recreational and commercial boats along our rivers."
The navigation system along the Alabama River is used to help ship goods to the Port of Mobile, and both rivers offer recreational activity that promotes tourism in many areas along the river system.