Recreational Fishing Alliance calls Senate bill ‘a farce’

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The Recreational Fishing Alliance is lashing out about the Freedom to Fish bill championed by U.S. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., saying Congress hijacked the bill the group fought to support during the last 10 years.

The Senate passed the Freedom to Fish Act (S. 421) earlier this month.

Paul’s website described it as “a bill that protects fishing access at the tailwaters of dams along the Cumberland River [and] prevents the Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with a plan to install physical barriers in several locations, including the Barkley and Wolf Creek dams.”

“Passage of the Freedom to Fish Act today is a welcome alternative to the Army Corps’ burdensome plan, which would hurt Kentucky residents and businesses,” Paul said on his website. “There is a deep and long love for fishing the tailwaters of the Cumberland River, and I am glad we have taken action to help protect fishing access and Kentucky’s economy.”

But the RFA calls the bill “a farce,” saying the legislation, which reached President Obama’s desk last week, does little more than provide a two-year moratorium on the Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to erect barriers specifically along the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee.

“A total of 11 sponsors of a House and Senate bill, with all members from either Tennessee or Kentucky, yet this legislation just sails through with a smile and a wave,” RFA executive director Jim Donofrio said in an email. “Bring 5,000 coastal fishermen to Washington, D.C., in organized protest of our federal fisheries law and garner support of upwards of 50 federal legislators and Congress does nothing, it’s maddening.”

Donofrio said the new legislation might offer some freedom to fish for dam anglers on the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee, but he added that “had any of the original Freedom to Fish sponsors in D.C. actually read this bill they would’ve realized that their coastal anglers were essentially being pawned off by unanimous consent.”

RFA said the original bill would have provided far broader federal protection for anglers against arbitrary closed area regulations on every coast.

Click here for the bill.

— Compiled by Reagan Haynes


5 comments on “Recreational Fishing Alliance calls Senate bill ‘a farce’

  1. Oakley

    Tea Party wacko Rand Paul and his Republican associates are concerned about one thing. Pandering to their own constituents and getting re elected.

  2. Timm

    I guess the only ones who pander and try to get re-elected are Republicans! It is scary that believing in a smaller government with lower taxes that follows the Constitution all of our leaders have sworn to uphold now makes you a “wacko” in some peoples opinion. No wonder the country is such a mess!

    I’d like to see what the original bill was supposed to entail. Could it have been too far reaching for some members, thus making it difficult for them to pass? Remember, every one of our so called leaders has their own group to pander too and some groups may not feel that what we wanted was in their best interest. Smaller bills that effect smaller groups are easier to pass than large complex bills that effect many people. Maybe we need to go after what we want in smaller bites, flying under the radar.

  3. enginecom

    Its the demoncrats who pander along with the lying cheating president. Luckily it was bipartisan for what the bills worth or the dems would have Obama sending the IRS after those who support wise use of our resources. If PETA protested against it the dems would have not let it through the Senate. The whole federal government is dysfunctional from the top down. We need people like Rand Paul to take the lead and possibly save our country in 2016. Its a wonder the dems don’t order the Army Corps to catch all the fish and give them away for votes.

  4. Freedom First

    Yeah right, Oakley. Just where do you think these ridiculous and onerous restrictions came from in the first place? They are devoid of credible science, and have been foisted on the public with little regard for economic hardship, public recreation, and/or sustainability realities. If you are going to weigh in, please have some modicum of an idea as to what you are talking about.

  5. Douglas Reimel

    You are right on target Timm. DC is all about control and regulations, not freedom. The small battles need to be won so we learn how to win the big battles.

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