Senate Unanimously Passes Alexander Immediate 2-Year Ban On Corps Fishing Restrictions

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) announced that the U.S. Senate on Thursday passed his legislation that would immediately ban the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing fishing restrictions for two years, the second time in as many days senators have supported “the freedom to fish below publicly owned dams on the Cumberland River.”

Thursday’s action had the unanimous support of the Senate, and it would stop the Corps from enacting any existing or new fishing restrictions for the next two years, while also delegating enforcement to state wildlife agencies. This legislation is separate from legislation the Senate passed Wednesday as part of the Water Resources Development Act, which would enact a permanent solution – as opposed to just two years – and also delegate enforcement to state agencies.

The legislation passed Thursday by unanimous consent is likely to come up sooner in the U.S. House of Representatives than the House’s version of the Water Resources Development Act. Once passed, today’s legislation would enact a two-year ban while supporters await passage of the permanent solution in the House.

“The U.S. Senate continues to support the idea that we don’t need Big Brother in Washington holding the hands of fishermen in Tennessee and Kentucky or anywhere else,” Senator Alexander said. “We’re getting closer to stopping these unreasonable fishing restrictions, showing the Corps that it can’t waste taxpayer dollars or continue to ignore elected representatives who are standing up for fishermen.”

The Corps is proceeding with its policy to permanently restrict access to tailwaters areas below 10 dams on the Cumberland River in Tennessee and Kentucky. The Corps did so despite the Senate’s unanimous support for an amendment to the budget resolution in March that would allow Congress to prohibit the Corps’ plans, as well as repeated requests for compromise from Senator Alexander, numerous other elected officials and the state agencies that enforce boater safety requirements.

Senator Alexander’s legislation originated from his “Freedom to Fish Act,” which is cosponsored by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) has sponsored companion legislation in the House.

Senator Alexander said on May 8 he would restrict Corps funding, in his role as the ranking member or lead Republican on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, if the Corps did not abandon its plans. Senator Alexander has also held numerous meetings with Corps officials in Washington and Tennessee, encouraging them to find a compromise.

Former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Jerry Martin, an appointee of President Obama who until stepping down recently would have been responsible for defending the Corps in court, has said the Corps’ restrictions are unreasonable “in light of the tremendous protection from liability enjoyed by the Corps.” The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has also said it will not enforce the Corps’ restrictions.


Tennessee State Parks To Host Public Input Hearing At Booker T. Washington State Park

Leaders from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will be conducting a public hearing at Booker T. Washington State Park on Thursday, Dec. 4, to gather public input and discuss the current business and management plan for the park.  The event will begin at  5:30 p.m.  with an open house reception to meet park staff and view exhibits. The ... (click for more)

SORBA Chattanooga Announces 2015 Race Series Schedule

SORBA (Southern Off-Road Biking Association) Chattanooga announced the Race Series schedule for 2015. Registration for all races opens on Dec. 1 . Pick Your Poison, a cross country race at Booker T. Washington State Park; Soul Sucker, which has a 25k and 50k option held at Raccoon Mountain; the Raccoon Mountain Super D, a downhill race; Night Shift, the six-hour twilight race ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful 2014

Over 40 years ago I was a young sports writer when I came up with the notion of setting daily things aside, just for one day, and writing about why “I Am Thankful.” Every Thanksgiving I come up with my list and it is as much about me as it is about my gratitude for all things great and small. I can’t imagine approaching this day in any other way. Here we go … I AM THANKFUL for ... (click for more)