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special session allen Reservoir passes$rec=323580-39050

Publication: American Press
Publication Date: 04/16/2002
Page and Section: 5 A

State Senate OKs Allen Reservoir District



BATON ROUGE -- The Senate has given final legislative approval to a measure that creates the Allen Parish Reservoir District.

The measure by Rep. Herman Ray Hill, D-Dry Creek, and Sen. Don Hines, D-Bunkie, will go back to the House for concurrence in an amendment put on the bill by Hines, so concurrence is expected to be routine.

Before passing the bill, senators rejected an amendment proposed by Sen. Fred Hoyt, D-Abbeville. Hoyt wanted the reservoir to follow water use rules being adopted by groundwater legislation passed last year.

Hines and Sen. James David Cain, D-Dry Creek, said Hoyt was jumping the gun because the groundwater rules haven't been put in place.

"If you're going to put this reservoir under those rules, then do it for all of the other reservoirs in the state," Cain said.

Hoyt said the Legislature shouldn't be creating separate water entities around the state. However, the Senate disagreed and rejected his amendment 19-12.

Hines said the main purpose of the bill is to create a recreational area in Allen Parish, which doesn't have a lake. A golf course is also contemplated.

It will take two years to study the avenues available for creating the district, Hines said. Federal grants will be explored, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will make the final decision on where the reservoir will be located.

An amendment was added in a House committee that restricts the size of the lake to no more than 6,000 acres. The House voted 97-3 for the bill.

Hill said during committee debate that his measure will enhance economic development in Allen Parish. The reservoir will collect rain-water and water from area streams, if they exist, to be used for agricultural, recreational, commercial, industrial and sanitary purposes.

The reservoir would be administered by a board of five commissioners. They would be appointed by the governor and would have to be confirmed by the state Senate. Commissioners would receive no compensation.

The lake would be stocked with fish and could be used by watercraft. The state Depart-ment of Wildlife and Fisheries would regulate both of those activities.

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