McConnell talks Syria, Gorsuch, Corps at local visit

By Matt Lasley - [email protected]

By Matt Lasley

[email protected]

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell briefly stopped in Leitchfield on Monday, April 10 for a meeting with local leaders, as well as a press event, during which he discussed topics such as the confirmation of new Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the recent missile strike on Syria, and the ongoing issue between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and some Rough River Lake landowners.

McConnell opened the press event by saying he had just received a call from President Donald Trump regarding the swearing in of Gorsuch in the White House Rose Garden on Monday morning.

McConnell said that, while Gorsuch was “made by the Democrats more controversial than he should have been,” he will serve the country well “for many years to come.”

Gorsuch was appointed by Trump to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away in February of 2016.

McConnell then shifted to the recent missile strike, ordered by Trump, on a Syrian government airbase responsible for a chemical weapons attack that killed many civilians last week.

While some of McConnell’s peers in Congress, including fellow Senator from Kentucky Rand Paul, believe Trump’s actions were unconstitutional, McConnell disagrees.

McConnell said he approves of the President’s actions and noted that they do not require congressional approval.

“The world understands you don’t use chemical weapons,” said McConnell. “You just don’t do it.”

McConnell said the U.S. missile strike was about reinforcing that message. He also added that the issues with the Syrian government cannot be resolved as long as President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

Additionally, McConnell said he has no evidence that the Russian government was complicit in Syria’s chemical weapon attack, but the Russians did not tell the United States the truth when they said four years ago they had removed all of the chemical weapons from Syria.

McConnell then addressed the recent order to move an aircraft carrier and several other warships toward the Korean Peninsula in a show of force by the Trump administration following North Korea’s test of an intermediate-range missile.

McConnell said Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, is “unstable” and working on dangerous weapons, making the issue with the country a “big problem.”

Finally, McConnell addressed the ongoing issue between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and numerous Rough River Lake landowners, the latter of whom are encroaching on the Corps’ flowage easement, which permits the Corps to flood land to allow for additional water storage.

So far, some 416 habitable structures have been found to be encroaching on the flowage easement, and more may be found to be encroaching on the easement following upcoming land survey results.

The primary issue is the cost associated with the administrative fees (ranging from an estimated $2,200 to $3,200 for Scenario A landowners) to release eligible residents and properties from the flowage easement.

McConnell said his office is on top of the issue and has been working with the Corps to help resolve those disputes.

Terry Carmack, State Director for McConnell’s Louisville office, said the office is trying to relieve as many landowners as possible, and the decision on what to do next is currently under review.

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

By Matt Lasley

[email protected]

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.

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