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Oil Strike Won't Delay Wolf Creek Dam Repairs

Officials say another discovery of crude oil under southern Kentucky’s Wolf Creek Dam will not delay the long-term plan to fix leaks in the dam. The oil was found in a core sample taken from the earthen dam last week.The Army Corps of Engineers is in the midst of a project launched in 2006 to prevent the dam, which impounds Lake Cumberland, from failing. Geologist Brook Brosi says a crude strike is not unusual in that part of the state, but there’s very little in the area around the dam. "In Clinton County, which is the next county south, as you drive down the road, you can see several functional oil wells that are pumping and have been for several years. So this is an area with natural petroleum. We do get a little bit of oil (around the dam), but it’s actually an expense for us instead of a bonus because we have to make sure it doesn’t get into the environment," he said. Brosi says a similar strike a few years ago found about twelve gallons of oil. The $584 million Wolf Creek Dam repair project is scheduled for completion in 2013.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.