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.


Defendant In False Bear Attack Case Pleads Guilty

The defendant charged with filing a false report after he told authorities an animal attacked him last September pleaded guilty in Campbell County Criminal Court this month.   Michael Savage, 28, of LaFollette, claimed he was walking along Demory Road in LaFollette in the early morning hours of  Sept. 4,  when he was attacked by an animal with dark coarse ... (click for more)

Cleveland Receives 24th Tree City USA Award

Cleveland has received its 24th Tree City U.S.A. award. The National Arbor Day Foundation recognizes Tree Cities annually. The local ceremony took place  Tuesday  beside the greenway at 20th and Keith streets. Mayor Tom Rowland pointed out cities must meet the foundation's criteria to receive the distinction. Taking part in the ceremony were members of the Cleveland ... (click for more)

Truck Bursts Into Flames On I-75 Near Tunnel Hill; Traffic At Standstill For Hours

A truck burst into flames after wrecking with another vehicle on I-75 near Tunnel Hill on Saturday afternoon. There were injuries reported in the fiery accident in the southbound lanes. Traffic was at a standstill for several hours. Long lines of vehicles detoured onto Highway 41 into Ringgold. The wreck was just inside Catoosa County, Ga. (click for more)

Representative Jimmy Duncan Endorses Donald Trump For President

Representative John J. Duncan, Jr., one of the most senior Republicans in the House and the only Republican remaining in Congress who voted against the Iraq War today endorsed Donald Trump for president. Rep. Duncan said, “With only four percent of the world’s population, we buy 25 percent of the world’s goods. Every country wants into our markets. We have tremendous leverage ... (click for more)

Jill Levine Is An Educational Rock Star

No one has covered the Hamilton County Department of Education drama better than Roy Exum.  Thank you, Roy, but I take issue with your unnamed sources.  Professional jealousy and sour grape darts should not be anonymous.   HCDE is so dysfunctional, and there is good cause to place this public organization under a microscope, dissect it into pieces and discard all ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Settle It With A Vote

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which I consider a pretty good authority on what words really mean, defines “freedom” in this way:  “The quality or state of being free: such as, (a) the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; (b) liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another; (c) independence -- the quality or state of being exempt ... (click for more)