Collins To Chair New Congressional Group on Corps

By MJ Kneiser

Collins (R-Gainesville)

U.S. Representative Doug Collins is the chair of a new Congressional group formed to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on water management issues across the country.

One issue concerning our region is the lake level on Lake Hartwell.

While lake levels have risen, Collins said he plans to take a greater interest and role in the management of the Upper Savannah River.

Speaking at a recent breakfast in Hart County, Collins talked about the new group.

“The Corps of Engineers really most of the time could care less what the state thinks,” Collins said. “But I’ve got a little secret for the Corps of Engineers. They’re going to have to care what I think because I’m going to be dealing with them on a day-to-day basis.”

Collins said he is the new chair of the newly formed Corps of Engineers Working Group, a name he said is subject to change.

“We’ve got 35 other states that have issues with the Corps,” he said. “We’re not out to just bash the Corps. We’re wanting to say, ‘Do your job. Everybody else has to do their job. Do your job.’”

Collins cited the recent formation by State Rep. Alan Powell of the Savannah River Caucus, but said states traditionally have a hard time getting the Corps to listen to their issues.

Collins said his goal for Georgia is to get the Corps to develop a better water management plan for the Upper Savannah River.

“Let’s get a plan for how much water can come in, how much we can retain, and how much can we make the water levels become constant because water levels are an economic issue as well,” Collins said.

Collins said he would be working with South Carolina U.S. Representative Jeff Duncan on the Lake Hartwell management plan.

He said the two plan to tour the Hartwell Lake and Dam Project in Hartwell in the coming weeks.