McCaskill, Blunt move to protect Table Rock Lake residents, businesses

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Missouri's U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt are moving to protect residents and businesses around Table Rock Lake, Mo., from service disruptions and new costs, after a finding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers--which manages leases around the Lake--entered into its management agreement improperly.

"It's outrageous that families and businesses around Table Rock Lake would have to pay the price for the Army Corps' failure--and that's why Senator Blunt and I are going to work together to hold the agency accountable," McCaskill said. "Army Corps leadership should be embarrassed by this, and it's up to them to find a solution that protects folks in this area from service disruptions or higher costs."

"This arbitrary decision is completely unacceptable and is another example of blatant government overreach," Blunt said. "Missouri families and businesses who live, work, and vacation at Table Rock Lake deserve to do so without needless uncertainty. I met with the Little Rock District this week, and I'll continue to stay engaged on this issue until the Corps finds a solution for funding park operations."

The Ozarks Rivers Heritage Foundation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a cooperative management lease for the area around Table Rock Lake on May 27, 2011. Under the agreement, the Foundation provides auxiliary services to the Army Corps, and the Army Corps leased eight recreation areas along with Dewey Short Visitors Center to the Foundation. The fees collected from campers and other users of the recreation areas are spent by the Foundation on property projects around the lake--and have resulted in more than $1.5 million in value to the Corps projects at Table Rock Lake.

However, the Army Corps recently reevaluated the management agreement, and has now indicated that the agency illegally overstepped its authority in signing the agreement--as well as 33 other agreements around the country. The agency is now in discussions with local stakeholders, but the impact on the Table Rock Lake community is not yet known.

McCaskill and Blunt are working together to exert pressure on the Army Corps to quickly find a solution.

The Senators wrote to Army Corps officials demanding that they take no action involving the management agreement until fully briefing the Senators' offices, and pointing out that the legal authority to enter into the agreement was vetted and deemed to be legal by the Army Corps headquarters office. A copy of the Senators' letter is available HERE.

McCaskill and Blunt previously worked together to protect private landowners at the Lake of the Ozarks, jointly introducing legislation to prohibit federal agencies from issuing any plan that would have required the removal of homes, businesses and other structures built within the boundary of a hydroelectric project.