If you have recently driven around Lake Somerset you realize the waterway is in trouble.
State officials have lowered the level of the lake to relieve pressure on the breast of the dam.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission owns the property and has its district office on the water front. Unfortunately it doesn't have the estimated $4.7 million needed to improve the infrastructure to make the breast safe again.
Fortunately State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Allegheny Township, has co-sponsored legislation that would benefit Lake Somerset and other high hazard dams.
The proposed legislation would amend Act 256 of 1955 by directing 5 percent of the rents and royalties in the Oil and Gas Lease Fund to the Fish and Boat Commission. The amount will be capped at $6 million annually. The money would be restricted for the use of reconstructing and repairing high-hazard dams managed by the commission. Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D-Lawrence/Beaver/Butler, is the primary sponsor of the legislation, which is in the preliminary stage of getting co-sponsors.
The legislation is a good use for funding already derived from those impacting the environment.
Lake Somerset has a significant recreational and economic impact on the region.
The legislation that is being introduced makes sense to help maintain public waterways across the state.