Senate Passes Alexander, McConnell, Corker, Paul Amendment Opposing Corps’ Fishing Restrictions

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) announced that the Senate passed the budget resolution amendment he sponsored with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would allow Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing proposed fishing restriction on the Cumberland River.

“This amendment sends a clear message to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: that it should stop wasting $2.6 million in taxpayer money enforcing these unnecessary and unreasonable fishing restrictions,” Senator Alexander said. “Instead, the Corps should work with the wildlife agencies in Tennessee and Kentucky to develop a sensible plan to promote public safety when water is spilling through the dam.”

Senator Alexander’s amendment opposes a $2.6 million Corps plan to erect physical barriers restricting access to tailwaters fishing areas below 10 dams on the Cumberland River in Tennessee and Kentucky. The senator has asked the Corps to explore alternatives – such as signs, sirens and lights – and work with wildlife agencies in Tennessee and Kentucky to satisfy safety and regulatory requirements to improve safety.

Senator Alexander said, “The tailwaters are only dangerous when the water is spilling through the dam, which on average is about 20 percent of the time. Closing off the tailwaters 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.”

In addition to various legislative efforts, Senator Alexander has also held several discussions with Corps officials, including Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, whom he encouraged to reconsider the $2.6 million expenditure in light of the sequester’s automatic spending cuts.


Land Trust For Tennessee's Emily Parish To Lead March Nature @ Noontime Program

Emily Parish, director of Conservation for the Land Trust for Tennessee will be the featured speaker for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s March Nature @ Noontime. The program will be held on Thursday, March 5, at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building in the Ellington Agriculture Complex. Ms. Parish will speak about the history and programs for The Land Trust for ... (click for more)

TWRA Researching Effects Of Boone Lake Draw Down

Following the announcement from TVA that Boone Lake levels will remain lower than normal into the spring and summer, TWRA fisheries biologists are preparing for the potential impact on fish populations in the reservoir and tailwaters. The primary goal is to keep the fishery as stable as possible during the drawdown period and biologists will be monitoring conditions closely in ... (click for more)

Local Governments Forgave Over $26 Million In Taxes For 2014, Citizen Activist Says

Over $26 million in property tax revenue was apparently "forgiven" (abated) in 2014 because of tax breaks to businesses approved by Chattanooga and Hamilton County governments under the PILOT program (payment in-lieu of tax), according to figures compiled by citizen activist Helen Burns Sharp. She said, "Most PILOT agreements last at least 10 years; some last as long as 30 ... (click for more)

Judge Approves Protective Order In Woodard-Thompson Suit Against Erlanger

Circuit Court Judge Neil Thomas has approved a protective order requested by Erlanger Health System in the lawsuit filed by former Erlanger CEO Charlsetta Woodard-Thompson against the hospital. Plaintiff attorney Jennifer Lawrence had opposed the order, saying Erlanger is a public hospital "and they should not have any of these secrets." She said, "We know what they're doing. ... (click for more)

Tennessee Deserves Better Health Reform

Tennessee needs health care reform. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," was not the best solution for Tennesseans. That is why the vast majority of Tennessee legislators never publicly supported the plan defeated in a special legislative session in February.   It is important to distinguish health care from health insurance. As one physician ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cameras Or Subterfuge?

State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) is an easy-to-like member of the Tennessee Legislature and the fact he is teaming with state senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) to rid the state of its loathsome traffic cameras is indeed a wonderful thing. The legislative action is long overdue, with the biggest winners being the out-of-state camera companies. That alone is just about all you ... (click for more)