WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLFI) - Congressman Todd Rokita and State Senator Brandt Hershman are asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to reconsider its decision on a Monticello hydroelectric dam.
Rep. Rokita and Senator Hershman believe the Oakdale dam will have a negative impact on Monticello and surrounding communities.
The USFWS ordered the Northern Indiana Public Service Company to main water flow through the Oakdale hydroelectric dam in order to protect freshwater fanshell mussel populations in the Tippecanoe River.
In doing so, this will lower the water levels of White County's Lake Freeman, thus threatening annual tourism income for the area.
"The decision to lower the water levels will cause widespread hardship to Lake Freeman and the Monticello community. It will negatively affect small businesses that rely on tourism to the lake and a steady water level," said Rep. Rokita.
"Business owners in our area are already worried the lowering of Lake Freeman's water levels is deterring customers," Hershman said. "I am simply asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agency to review the wisdom of its decision before more employers are negatively impacted. In times of economic hardships, we must do everything we can to support businesses and prevent negative consequences that could potentially outweigh benefits."
Hershman expects other local and federal officials will call on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials to reconsider their decision as well.
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