Alexander, McConnell, Corker, Paul Introduce Legislation To Stop Fishing Restrictions

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.), along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), on Thursday introduced legislation that would stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restricting fishing in the tailwaters below the Cumberland River dams.

Sen. Alexander’s legislation would prevent the Corps from enacting its plan, rather than simply delay it, as previously intended, because of the Corps’ continued commitment to move forward.

In addition to introducing the legislation, Sen. Alexander spoke by phone on Thursday with Secretary of the Army John McHugh, and announced that he will meet Monday with Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy to discuss the Corps’ planned restrictions.

Sen. Alexander said the Corps is pushing an “unreasonable plan to restrict fishing below Cumberland River dams that will destroy remarkably good recreational opportunities and many jobs.” The Corps plan would restrict public access to the fishing waters below 10 dams on the Cumberland River.

Sen. Alexander continued, “Water spills through the Cumberland River dams less than 20 percent of the time on average. To close off the tailwaters to fishing 100 percent of the time would be like keeping the gate down at the railroad crossing 100 percent of the time: The track isn't dangerous when the train isn’t coming, and the tailwaters aren’t dangerous when the water isn’t spilling through the dam.”   

The senator, who is the senior Republican on the Senate committee overseeing Corps funding, also said that he “wanted to know exactly where the $2.6 million that the Corps plans to use to erect physical barriers is coming from during these tight budget times.” Sen. Alexander said Congress may also need to consider whether the funding required for the barrier system is in the best interest of the American taxpayer.

State officials have said safety concerns can be addressed by anglers adhering to current requirements, and by making changes to policy that would be far less restrictive than the Corps’ plan. Sen. Alexander has called on the Corps to reconsider its position, in the hopes that a compromise could find a way to better address safety concerns only when the waters are dangerous.


State Wildlife Action Plan Updates Underway

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, is updating the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan. The nationwide development of State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) in 2005 was a major milestone in fish and wildlife conservation. The SWAPs are blueprints for conservation, assessing the health of each states’ wildlife habitat and ... (click for more)

Mountain Beautiful Trail Re-Opens On Lookout Mountain Battlefield

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is advising a portion of the Mountain Beautiful Trail that closed in January, 2012 is now open for public use. The park, in partnership with the Southeast Youth Corps, developed a project to construct a reroute of a section of the Mountain Beautiful Trail that was severely damaged by a rock fall. The portion of trail that was ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Stops Erlanger Foreclosure Of Hutcheson Hospital

In a ruling Friday, a Federal Court Judge in Rome agreed with Hutcheson Medical Center and Regions Bank to grant the request for an injunction, effectively stopping the foreclosure efforts of Erlanger Health System against Hutcheson. In stopping the foreclosure set for next Tuesday, the judge held that the public interest in keeping the hospital doors open was “insurmountable.”  ... (click for more)

Mediated Resolution Reached In TVA Kingston Lawsuits

A mediated global resolution has been achieved in 63 lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court involving more than 850 plaintiffs asserting claims against the Tennessee Valley Authority arising from the 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The resolution, outlined in documents submitted Friday to the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, comes after nearly two years of ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)