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.


TWRA Highway 92 Access Area In Dandridge To Be Closed Again On Friday

The TWRA Highway 92 Access Area on Douglas Lake in Dandridge will be closed again this  Friday,  to help facilitate design work for the new bridge construction.    Construction crews will be removing barges and drilling equipment following the collection of lake-bottom core samples.     The closure will begin at 1 a.m. on Friday ... (click for more)

First Right Whales Of Season Sighted Off Georgia Coast

The season’s first sighting of North Atlantic right whales on the Georgia coast underscores the fact that Georgia and north Florida are the only known calving grounds for these endangered whales. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission survey plane spotted a right whale mother and her new calf 16 miles off Cumberland Island  Saturday . The mom, cataloged ... (click for more)

Investor Group Plans $31 Million Hotel In Chattanooga Bank Building

An investor group announced that it is planning the development of an upscale 150-room hotel in the historic Chattanooga Bank Building. MCA is comprised of 20 EB-5 investors as limited partners with Red Leaf Development, managed by David Roos, as the general partner. Long-time partner PHG is involved in the development of the hotel and will be responsible for its management ... (click for more)

Police Say Texts From Slain Minister Detailed Drug Deals

An investigator testified Thursday that a minister who was beaten to death during an apparent drug deal had texts on his phone dealing with similar exchanges of illegal drugs. The minister's wife said he had gone out that night as part of a church counseling program to women. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound charges of felony murder and especially aggravated ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last Day Of School

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story first appeared in the Chattanooga News-Free Press in the early 1980s and every year since then I have been asked repeatedly about it. It is easily the most famous story I have ever written – copies have been sent to me from numerous foreign countries -- and it may be the easiest story I ever wrote. All I did was write what the noted religious psychologist ... (click for more)