ATLANTA — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that it is pausing “any actions related to project renaming” after the Department of Defense’s Naming Commission released a report earlier in the week saying Lake Lanier and Buford Dam should be renamed.
“The William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 designated a congressional Naming Commission to remove the names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor the Confederate States of America,” the DoD said in a news release.
Lake Lanier draws millions of visitors each year. It was built and is operated by the Army Corp of Engineers along with Buford Dam for flood control and water supplies.
The lake is named after Sidney Lanier, a 19th-century musician, and poet, who penned the poem song of the Chattahoochee. He also served several months as a private in the Confederate army.
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The dam is named for Algernon Sydney Buford. The city took on his name in recognition of his ownership of a local railroad, not his participation in the Civil War.
“I don’t think there is enough of a connection between the Confederacy and the namesakes of the lake and the dam to justify changing the names,” said Clyde Morris, vice president of the Lake Lanier Association.
Rep. Andrew Clyde released a statement Friday, applauding the pause:
“The USACE’s decision to pause its efforts is a tremendous victory for Northeast Georgians, as these renamings would have attempted to rewrite history, impose massive burdensome costs on our community, and create unnecessary mass confusion. I will continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure that the USACE does not under any circumstances engage in any effort to rename Lake Lanier or Buford Dam in the future.”
If new names are eventually picked for Lake Lanier and Buford Dam, Congress will ultimately have the final say on what they will be called.
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