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.


3 Rivers Longbeards NWTF Chapter To Host Youth Event On Aug. 8 At TWRA Office In Morristown

Young people ages five to 17 and their parents or guardians are invited to enjoy a day of outdoor fun at the TWRA Region IV Office in Morristown on  Aug. 8,  from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Three Rivers Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will host the Allen Ricks Memorial JAKES Day event. Allen Ricks was the TWRA  Region IV Information ... (click for more)

TVA Issues River Traffic Caution On Tennessee River At South Pittsburg

The Tennessee Valley Authority has issued a river traffic caution from  July 27 until Aug. 1,  for transmission line construction at Tennessee River Mile 417.3 near South Pittsburg, Tenn. TVA transmission crews will be installing new transmission lines across the river approximately one mile south of the Highway 156 bridge. Work will be occurring daily between  ... (click for more)

Assessor Of Property Bill Bennett Will Not Seek Re-Election

Bill Bennett, a longtime fixture in Hamilton County government, announced Monday that he plans to retire at the end of his current term as assessor of property. Mr. Bennett said, "After careful thought, prayer and encouragement from my family, I have made the decision to retire at the end of my current term and not place my name on the ballot for assessor of property in the 2016 ... (click for more)

Funeral Service For Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith Is Tuesday

The funeral service for Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Fort Oglethorpe.   Petty Officer Smith is the last of the five servicemen, and the second in Chattanooga, to be buried after the attack on July 16.   Parking at the church is reserved for family and friends of the Smith family. The public ... (click for more)

What Is #NoogaStrong

I've seen some recent posts asking exactly what Chattanooga Strong means. This week I have seen enough that I believe I can give you a definition of this glorious word.   As a city everyone will not always get along or agree. Often we may ask ourselves what is wrong with these nuts. Often we run across the rude, crude and ugly. But when tragic happens, we all come together ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chanie's Puzzling Poem

Ronnie Joice was in a bar in north London when he spied a poem tacked to the wall. The more he studied it, the more it revealed and, suddenly, he was floored. I don’t need to tell you it has gone viral, cheering people up particularly in England, but it is fun to know it was written by an 11 th -grader at an all-girls school in New York. Chanie Gorkin first posted it on her page ... (click for more)