Thursday, August 28, 2014 · 3:14 a.m.

Corps of Engineers agrees to public hearing on fishing restriction

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Sen. Lamar Alexander. (Photo: Staff)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to hold public hearings regarding a proposal to restrict access to tailwater fishing areas on the Cumberland River.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) met Thursday with Lt. Col. James A. DeLapp, commander of the Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at Alexander’s request to discuss the corps’ decision to restrict access to fishing areas in dam tailwaters on the Cumberland River System, which Alexander said is “a significant source of enjoyment for Tennesseans and visitors from around the world.”

In the meeting, Alexander asked DeLapp to give the public the opportunity to voice their concerns and hold several public meetings to take input from the people and communities affected by the decision. Alexander also encouraged DeLapp to “look at alternatives to the new policy” and requested that “if the corps moves forward in restricting fishing in dam tailwaters, to restrict it to the smallest area possible, consistent with the corps’ safety requirements.”

Alexander thanked DeLapp for agreeing to both of his requests.

Alexander is the senior Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water, which has jurisdiction over the Army Corps of Engineers.

On Nov. 20, Alexander sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, urging reconsideration of their decision.

He wrote: “At a minimum, I believe that any change of this magnitude should be subject to a public comment period, so those who enjoy fishing can have an opportunity to express their concerns and propose alternatives to improve public safety. Changes should only be considered after a thorough review of all public comments and suggestions.”

In the letter, Alexander requested a personal report on the situation from DeLapp prior to any change in practice. That personal report was delivered in today’s meeting with Alexander in his Washington office.

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