01/28/13 05:41 PM
Change.org Email about COE Waterway Restrictions
Loc: Nashville, TN
Long, but worth the read...|
February 5th Chris Lasher and I have been invited by Congressman Ed Whitfield to meet with General Bostick, Chief of Engineers of the Corps of Engineers. This is very good news.
Some of the points we will be making are in a recent opposition letter I have written. Below are the bullet points of the new information we have discovered. If you want to read more I will need to email the entire document to you just email me at email@example.com and I will send you the rest of the information. Thanks for your help in this work to help keep our dams open for fishing and boating. Below is the new information we have received.
Quick Reference Guide for Restricted Areas Opposition
The Corps has given four main reasons for restricting access to dams: 1) Public Safety, 2) Compliance with ER 1130-2-520 Chapter 10, 3) National security and 4) Reduced liability.
• The Corps may have intentionally misled the public, the press, and legislators with public safety statistics meant to invoke fear and anxiety. In fact, when those statistics are more closely examined, the USACE actually has a dam safety record to be proud of.
Corps Facts Examined
Presented with Freedom of Information Act requests by Wade White and Doug Markham of Doug Markham Outdoors in TN, the USACE provided safety records for drownings and near misses/rescues at its Cumberland River dams. The Corps has repeatedly used statistics from these reports to mislead the public, state and local officials, and legislators.
Corps Stated: “While  is a relatively low number in comparison to the district’s total number of fatalities, any fatality is tragic. Current event-oriented (conditions based) restrictions are not protective enough of boaters and visitors around dams.”
• Since 1970, when records began, 6 of the 10 dams have had ZERO fatalities, yet the Corps wants to barricade them anyway.
• 14 Number of drownings reported by Corps at the 4 remaining dams since 1970
- 5 Drownings from bank fishing
- 1 Drowning from “unknown” causes, but spillways open and no PFD worn
- 1 Drowning—unknown if spillways open or PFD worn; facts not known
- 3 Drownings occurred when water discharged without warning, and no PFD worn
- 3 No PFD worn, or PFD worn improperly, and water spilling
- 1 Victim was wearing a PFD but was too close to gate during spilling
0 Potential number of deaths if PFDs had been worn correctly AND conditions-based restriction had been enforced during spilling.
Corps Stated: Regarding 3 fatalities, 1 serious injury, and 10 near misses/rescues since 2009, “Life jacket wear has been ineffective in these areas, since all of the victims who drowned wore a life jacket.”
Truth Uncovered: FOIA information received from Corps shows life jackets DO work
• Regarding the 3 fatalities, 1 victim was wearing manually inflatable PFD, which he did not inflate. One victim’s PFD was found over his head, indicating it was not worn properly. The third victim was wearing his PFD properly and drown next to an open spillway gate.
• Regarding the 1 serious injury, it occurred while the power plant was cleaning out debris; workers were unaware a boater had entered the area, and debris landed on the bow of the boat, knocking the person against the windshield. The victim never entered the water, so this incident cannot be used to support the statement “life jacket wear has been ineffective…” This injury could have been prevented with a warning system and conditions-based restrictions.
• Regarding the 10 near misses, the Corps’ reports show ALL OF THEM WERE WEARING LIFE JACKETS PROPERLY. How can the Corps hold that “life jacket wear has been ineffective in these areas…” when ALL of the people pulled from the water alive were wearing life jackets.
Corps Stated: “The Corps continues to encourage bank fishing in all areas that were previously approved, including areas adjacent to some restricted areas.”
Truth Uncovered: When the numbers from the Corps’ reports are analyzed, 5 people drowned from bank fishing, and 0 people drowned when fishing from boats during non-spilling conditions. Yet the Corps is encouraging bank fishing and permanently restricting boat access?
We cover many other issues in the document titled “Corps Dam Arguments Don’t Hold Water.” In this attached article you will see more of the following:
No one has drowned during non-spill times.
More drowned from the bank in 42 years, yet bank fishing is being encouraged.
The near misses cited by the Corps implied life vests don’t work; however, they worked for ALL 10 near misses when they were worn properly.
Regulation ER 1130-2-520 from 1996 requires a barricade.
Based on all District Commanders since dams built - barricades are not necessary to meet regulation ER 1130-2-520.
We will reveal other past Commanders believed that access should be open and even encouraged during non-spill periods.
The Corps’ own policy calls a permanent barricade impractical and subject to debris.
The Corps’ own former commander states barricading will make it extremely difficult to maintain any credibility with the public.
Our info shows ALL lawsuits were dismissed in which boaters got too close to spilling gates or ignored required use of life jackets.
Successful litigation came when the Corps was found negligent—such as opening gates or releasing water with no warnings, or dropping debris on a boat.
Based on the information we have, all settlements don’t come close to the $2 million initial cost of the barricades
DeLapp’s statement opens up liability charges as it claims the Corps never fully implemented its policy. All who died—and even those involved in near misses—after 1996 could sue.
A conditions-based restriction meets ER 1130-2-520, as interpreted by every District Commander prior to DeLapp. After a 1997 double-drowning, a court ruled that Engineering Regulations (ERs) are not law, and it did not hold the Corps liable in a case where two men who drowned ignored warning signs and life jacket laws and failed to use reasonable care for their own safety.
Even with a barricade to keep out law abiding fishermen – a terrorist could simply boat up into the lock area, which will not be barricaded.
After 9/11 the Corps shut down all tours of the dams for fear of terrorist activity – the Corps now apparently feels safe enough to open those tours up to the public after 11 years, but now wants to restrict fishing for security reasons? Very contradictory.
Other issues not in this paper but previously covered are:
$2 million for barricades is not budgeted. Many believe this is a low estimate. What projects will be unfunded to cover these costs? Campgrounds?
Operational Management Plan (OMP) Policy Not Followed
Local officials need a seat at the table to start over with this proposed change to the OMP.
The current Operational Management Plans call for stepped-up sirens, horns and signage – this will work and does work.
Federal, state, and local agencies are unanimous in opposition to fully restricting access to dams.
Please take time to read the Entire Document we are calling, “Corps’ Dam Arguments Don’t Hold Water”
a copy of “Corps Dam Arguments Don’t Hold Water,” is not attached to this email. If you want a copy let me know and I will email it to you.
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