- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has withdrawn a request for a federal permit to build an East Texas reservoir that’s been in the works for nearly 40 years.

The Corps last month withdrew the permit application for the proposed $387 million Lake Columbia Regional Water Supply Reservoir Project. Corps officials cited relative inactivity since 2013 in the project managed by the Lufkin-based Angelina and Neches River Authority, according to The Lufkin News (https://bit.ly/1TO4dCg ).

Lake Columbia is proposed for the Mud Creek flood plain, a tributary of the Angelina River, with the dam about 5 miles southeast of Jacksonville. ANRA in 1978 began planning what was then informally called Mud Creek Reservoir.

ANRA’s general manager, Kelley Holcomb, remains optimistic about the project and says “in no way is this the end.” The ANRA will reply to the Corps within the 90-day window with requested documentation about the plans, according to Holcomb.

In a letter dated April 14, Stephen Brooks, chief of the regulatory division of the Corps’ Fort Worth district, notified ANRA of the application withdrawal, citing “relative inactivity of the project for more than three years.” Brooks also stated that the data collected and developed for the project area was considered “stale.”

ANRA submitted the application for the permit on Oct. 31, 2000. The agency has spent about $3.9 million to address the Corps’ permitting and National Environmental Policy Act requirements, according to an April 20 response letter to the Corps from Holcomb.

“What’s most critical at this point is getting the Corps of Engineers to rescind its decision to withdraw the application,” Holcomb said.

Lake Columbia is a recommended water supply strategy in the 2007 State Water Plan and the 2006 Regional Water Plan, according to ANRA.


Information from: The Lufkin Daily News, https://www.lufkindailynews.com

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