Alexander: House Passage Of Senate Legislation To Stop Corps’ Unreasonable Fishing Restrictions “Ends The Discussion”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Tuesday announced that the U.S. House of Representatives passed his Senate legislation which includes an immediate two-year ban to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from restricting fishing below dams on the Cumberland River. The president has 10 days from the day he receives the legislation to act upon it, before it becomes law.

“When the president signs this legislation, this will end the discussion,” Senator Alexander said. “Both chambers of the United States Congress have now told the Corps to immediately abandon its unreasonable efforts to restrict fishing and work with state agencies on a sensible policy to address safety concerns, instead of wasting taxpayer dollars and ignoring elected officials who are standing up for fishermen.”

The legislation that passed the House on Tuesday – and received unanimous Senate support on May 16 – 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.

The Senate has also passed Senator Alexander’s permanent solution to stop the Corps as part of the Water Resources Development Act on May 15, as opposed to just a two-year ban. That legislation would delegate enforcement to state wildlife agencies, and require the Corps to stop taking any further action until it has re-evaluated its plans. The House has not yet taken up its version of the Water Resources Development Act, which Senator Alexander said made it necessary to pass a two-year ban in the meantime.

The Corps has proceeded with its fishing restrictions 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 has said the Corps should look for better ways to keep fishermen safe when water is actually spilling through the dams, which is about 20 percent of the time on average.

A similar version of the Senate legislation that the House passed today was sponsored by U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tn.), Diane Black (R-Tn.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tn.) and Andy Barr (R-Ky.). Senator Alexander’s legislation originated from his “Freedom to Fish Act,” which is cosponsored by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Senators Bob Corker (R-Tn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Rep. Whitfield has also sponsored a companion to that 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 Promise Saturday Set For July 18

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner Bob Martineau, in partnership with Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative, announced  Tennessee Promise  Saturday , a student volunteer day to be held in all Tennessee State Parks on  Saturday, July 18 .   The Tennessee Promise, part of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative ... (click for more)

Outdoor Chattanooga News And Events

Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga: Outdoor Chattanooga Featured Event Huck Finn Family Paddling Adventure  July 10   Join Outdoor Chattanooga on a  Huck Finn Family Paddling Adventure  on  Fri., July 10  from  5 to 8:30 p.m.  We'll paddle canoe pontoons ... (click for more)

Bradley County Commission Rejects 10-Cent Tax Rise For Lake Forest MS; Firefighters Get $3,000 Raise

With a small crowd of demonstrators sitting in the back of the room with signs that read, “Vote no on property tax increase,” the Bradley County Commission on Monday night finally rejected a proposed 10-cent property tax increase that would have added funds to the construction of a new academic building at Lake Forest Middle School.   Funding for renovations at ... (click for more)

11 Attorneys Apply In 2nd Round For Replacing Judge Stern

Eleven attorneys have applied in the second round of applications to replace Rebecca Stern as judge of Criminal Court's Division II. The applicants are: Christian J. Coder Chattanooga Tracy Cox Signal Mountain Amanda B. Dunn Chattanooga Ardena Juanita Garth Chattanooga Thomas Clifton Greenholtz Ooltewah Andrea DeFay Hayduk ... (click for more)

Could The Marriage Decision Spark A New Independence Day?

I confess that this year I am having a hard time with the idea of celebrating the 4th of July Independence Day. It is not because I am not thankful to God for what was done on that day, what it represents, and the blessings I’ve experienced that flow from it. On the other hand, I want to think that maybe this year’s celebration will mark a period in our history in which a new movement ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Hay Fields Of July

Oh my goodness, July has just arrived and during my formative years, it was the most hated month of the year. When I was 12 years old, my wonderful grandfather decreed the days of begging for money to go to the picture show and burgers at the Krystal were over, that I was on the payroll for a dollar an hour and, in our family, folks worked for what they spent. Now my grandfather, ... (click for more)