Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) has introduced a “Freedom to Fish” act, that would prohibit the Corps of Engineers from blocking boating access below dams that the federal agency owns.
The congressman’s action stems from boiling public outrage over a plan introduced in December by the Corps’ Nashville District that would block boating access below 10 dams on the Cumberland River system, including four in Kentucky and six in Tennessee.
Nashville District commander Lt. Col. James DeLapp rolled out his plan to nearly unanimous criticism, including staunch opposition from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources www.fw.ky.gov and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency www.tnwildlife.org.
Whitfield’s legislative action follows a pledge last week by Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) when the veteran lawmaker said he planned to introduce legislation that would require the Corps to conduct an Environmental Impact Review before it could proceed with its plan.
DeLapp has said the restrictions are needed to 1) ensure public safety, and 2) bring their district in to full compliance with current regulations.