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special session allen reservoir http://archive.americanpress.com/cgi-bin/ArchiveIQue.acgi$rec=323080-39061

Publication: American Press  Publication Date: 04/11/2002 Page and Section: 4 a

Creator Jim Beam   Senate panel backs proposal  to form Allen reservoir district

BATON ROUGE -- The Senate Natural Resources Committee gave a favorable nod here Wednesday to a bill creating the Allen Parish Reservoir District.

The measure by Rep. Herman Ray Hill, D-Dry Creek, and Sen. Don Hines, D-Bunkie, moves to the Senate floor for final action. It has already passed the House.

Hill told the committee the main purpose of the bill is to create a recreational area in Allen Parish, which doesn't have a lake.

He said the development would be comparable to the Poverty Point reservoir in northeast Louisiana.

It will take two years to study the avenues available for creating the district, Hill said.

Federal grants will be explored, he said. Hill added that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will make the final decision on where the reservoir would 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.

A byproduct of the reservoir would be conservation of water resources, Hill said.

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

A spokesman for Royal Martin Lumber Co. spoke against the bill, saying it could set a precedent in other parishes and deplete the state's forestry resources.

Hill said his measure will enhance economic development in Allen Parish.

The reservoir will collect rainwater 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.

JIM BEAM