Freedom to Fish Act

Floor Speech

By:  Marsha Blackburn
Date: May 21, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I do rise today to support this legislation and to support the sportsmen from Tennessee and Kentucky. And as you can see, this is an issue where there is bipartisan agreement.

One of my constituents said it so well. They're so frustrated with this situation, and we've heard from so many of them on it. And they said, you know, you can turn on the TV any night and you see government overreach, whether it's the IRS admitting that they have targeted conservative groups or DOJ wiretapping reporters. And then you get home to Tennessee and, at the local level, what you see is the Corps of Engineers coming in and saying, well, by the way, we're going to change something, and you're not going to be able to fish.

Fishing in Tennessee is a tradition. It is a favorite pastime. Sportsmen have been fishing along this beautiful Cumberland River for years. As Mr. Cooper said, it is a beautiful place to be. And since the dams were built, I have to tell you, there are now generations of Tennesseeans, you will see families out together fishing. We have about 900,000 registered anglers in our State, and I have to tell you, I think our office has heard from almost every one of them on this issue. They have been very persistent.

One thing I would want my colleagues to know is that our sportsmen in our State are wonderful stewards of conserving our natural resources and the great outdoors, and they exercise personal responsibility and great care in protecting their favorite place to go fishing.

It is really to the disbelief of the Army Corps of Engineers that we already know when it is safe or not to go fish in these tailwaters. So what we're saying is let's right this wrong, and let's allow individuals to get back and enjoy the Freedom to Fish Act. Pass it today.