Alexander Threatens Corps of Engineers Budget - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Alexander Threatens Corps of Engineers Budget in Battle over Restricting Fishing below Dams

Posted: Updated:

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander's office:
WASHINGTON, May 8 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told a top U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official at a budget hearing today that he would restrict the Corps' ability to transfer new funds to projects if it doesn't abandon "unreasonable" fishing restrictions that amount to "thumbing your nose at elected officials," saying, "It sounds to me like we have a life jacket problem – not a water problem."

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), the subcommittee chairman whose approval the Corps would also need, called Alexander reasonable "99.9 percent of the time" and told the Corps officials, "My strong advice would be to try to work something out with him."

"We don't need Big Brother in Washington holding our hands while we're fishing down in Tennessee or Kentucky or any other place," Alexander said to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy. "If you're not going to pay attention to the elected representatives of Tennessee and Kentucky and other states, I'm not going to pay attention to your judgment. You have nine major accounts, 918 project accounts, and in order to move that, you need the permission of the chairman and me to [transfer new funds to projects]. … You're going to find it very hard to get my approval for any reprogramming request – anywhere in the country – until I get the Corps' attention, and if that doesn't get your attention, I'm going to work with my colleagues to reduce the reprogramming requests to $1,000 so that any reprogramming you want to do, you'll have to come back to me and Senator Feinstein and the chairman and ranking member in the House."

Referring to the order in which the legislative and executive branch duties are laid out in the Constitution – Article I and Article II, respectively – Alexander said, "We're Article I, you're Article II – you ought to be paying attention to our judgment on this, especially when so many members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have made themselves clear on this. We don't need a government that's big enough to interfere with us when we have enough sense to … get out of the water the 20 percent of the time when it's spilling through the dam."

Alexander, the lead Republican or Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development that was holding the hearing, has introduced the "Freedom to Fish Act" to prohibit the Corps from restricting fishing beneath 10 dams on the Cumberland River. On March 23, the U.S. Senate unanimously supported his amendment to the Senate budget resolution allowing Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the Corps plans.

On April 30, the Corps announced that it would move forward with full-time, permanently restricted access to tailwaters areas below the dams, through buoys and signage. Today, Alexander said the Corps would "find it very hard" to get the approval it needs from him as Ranking Member of the subcommittee for "reprogramming" required to move money among the Corps' more than 900 project accounts.

Alexander pointed to the Corps' own statistics showing that water only spills through the dams 20 percent of the time, on average. Alexander said, "Closing off the tailwaters 100 percent of the time would be like putting the gate down over the railroad crossing 100 percent of the time – the tracks aren't dangerous when the train's not coming, and the water isn't dangerous when the water isn't spilling through the dam."

  • OutdoorsMore>>

  • FLW Set to Return to Chickamauga Lake in 2015

    FLW Set to Return to Chickamauga Lake in 2015

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:44:25 GMT
    It’s official; during a press conference held at ICAST, the fishing industry’s largest annual trade show, FLW announced the locations of its 2015 Walmart FLW Tour stops in front of anglers, fans and industry media...More
    It’s official; during a press conference held at ICAST, the fishing industry’s largest annual trade show, FLW announced the locations of its 2015 Walmart FLW Tour stops in front of anglers, fans and industry media...More
  • Lewis and Kite Win DJ’s Marine Electronics C.B.A. Night Bass Tournament

    Lewis and Kite Win DJ’s Marine Electronics C.B.A. Night Bass Tournament

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:06 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:06:58 GMT
    The team of Daniel Lewis and Steve Kite edged out the field of 54 boats catching a 5 bass limit weighing 27.27 pounds to win first place and $2,000.00 in the DJ’s Marine Electronics Open CBA, July Night Bass Tournament...More
    The team of Daniel Lewis and Steve Kite edged out the field of 54 boats catching a 5 bass limit weighing 27.27 pounds to win first place and $2,000.00 in the DJ’s Marine Electronics Open CBA, July Night Bass Tournament...More
  • Dyer Wins Kayak Bass Tournament on Chickamauga Lake

    Dyer Wins Kayak Bass Tournament on Chickamauga Lake

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:56 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:56:28 GMT
    The Chattanooga Bass Yakkers held their tenth tournament of the season Saturday out of Ware Branch boat ramp on Chickamauga Lake.The water couldn't have been calmer and the weather couldn't have been better for the anglers that showed up to compete for cash and prizes...More
    The Chattanooga Bass Yakkers held their tenth tournament of the season Saturday out of Ware Branch boat ramp on Chickamauga Lake.The water couldn't have been calmer and the weather couldn't have been better for the anglers that showed up to compete for cash and prizes...More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.