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.


TFWC September Meeting To Be Held In Nashville

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will take action on changes in the commercial fishing proclamation among its agenda at its Sept. 18-19 meeting. The commission will hold its September meeting at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building. Committee meetings will start at 1 p.m. on Sept. 18, while formal session is Sept. 19, beginning at 9 ... (click for more)

Application Period Underway For WMA Waterfowl Hunts

The application period for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s 2014 Wildlife Management Area waterfowl hunts is now underway. The application period will be accepted until midnight (CDT) Oct. 1. A computerized drawing system will be held to selected successful applicants based on the priority drawing system. Applications will be accepted until midnight Oct. 1.   ... (click for more)

Sewell Says City, EPB "Close" On Amount Owed By Utility To City On Street Light Overbilling

City Internal Auditor Stan Sewell told City Council members on Tuesday that EPB and the city are "close" on the amount owed by the utility to the city on street light overbilling. Mr. Sewell said the city computed the amount at about $1.2 million, while he said EPB's auditing firm, Mauldin and Jenkins, has it at $1.5 million for an 89-month period that was audited. Mr. Sewell ... (click for more)

City Council Votes 5-4 On New Process For Naming IDB Members

The City Council voted Tuesday night 5-4 to set up a new process for naming members to the Industrial Development Board (IDB), which currently has four vacancies. The process includes three City Council panels: A (Districts 1, 2, 3), B (Districts 4, 5, 6), and C (Districts 7, 8, 9). Group A will fill two of the vacancies and Groups B and C one each. Agreement ... (click for more)

Candidates Should State Facts, Not Fiction

At a recent forum for candidates for the Signal Mountain Town Council, one candidate, Mr. Chris Howley, discussed a number of issues and presented “facts” using incorrect or misleading statements.   Here are several issues that should be clarified: 1.       On the road up the mountain:   “I called TDOT.   I talked to Ken Flynn.   ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: I’m Certainly No Expert

Sometime on Monday night, after I had written a piece on getting swatted with a switch as a kid, I got an email from ESPN Canada asking if I would be a televised guest on “Off the Record,” the most watched daily sports show in Canada. The subject: corporal punishment in America. Are you kidding me? I am hardly an expert. All weekend my world of sports and its excitement was warped ... (click for more)