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Byrd, Rockefeller, And Rahall Announce $36 Million In Army Corps Of Engineers Funding For Bluestone Dam

4/29/2009

Washington, D.C…. U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., along with Congressman Nick Rahall (WV-3), today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will allocate $36 million to accelerate the stabilization of Bluestone Dam in Hinton, West Virginia.  The funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

 

“I have been working with the Huntington District of the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that full funding is available for the stabilization of the Bluestone Dam for almost 10 years now,” Byrd said.  “This funding will support a project that is vital not only in terms of minimizing the risk of a potential dam failure, but also in creating and maintaining jobs.”

 

“Bluestone Dam is critically important to southern West Virginia’s water infrastructure,” said Rockefeller. “I am thrilled to see such significant investments in our infrastructure – these commitments can only help boost the local economy and that is a very good thing.”

 

“Senator Byrd's vision focused on Bluestone Dam's future safety long ago, and he has worked tirelessly to rebuild the dam for this century,” Rahall said.  “Our support for the stimulus bill continues to pay off for West Virginians.  In this instance, we will be saving lives, who could not support this?  The engineers at the Corps obviously recognize the importance of this project and I salute them along with Senator Byrd.”

 

The Corps has recently held a series of public meetings to alert the public about the increased risks associated with dam failure.  The stabilization of the Bluestone Dam will be accelerated by inserting anchors through the dam down to the bedrock, which would help to prevent the dam from sliding.  Stabilization would enable the dam to meet today’s safety standards, and future work of increasing the height of the dam would reduce the risk of the possibility of the dam from being overtopped by a 5,000 year flood.  In addition, work associated with the stabilization of the dam will create and maintain jobs, which is crucial during the economic recovery.

 

Projects were selected by the USACE based on criteria that included, but was not limited to, their ability to be obligated and executed quickly, as well as result in high and immediate employment, while containing little schedule risk.