Turner Resolution Calls for Investigation

Mike Turner (D) Old Hickory

House Democratic Caucus Chair, Mike Turner has sponsored a resolution urging the state’s congressional delegation to “initiate investigative hearings on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers relative to water releases from dams serving Middle Tennessee during recent flooding and maintenance of dams and levees.

The resolution passed unanimously in Committee, and will be on the floor of the House next week.

Here’s more coverage from the Tennessean.

Dams all around Middle Tennessee took on large amounts of water during the record rainfall the weekend of May 1-2. Nashville received 13.5 inches over two days, causing lakes and rivers to swell with runoff.

Turner said he has talked with counterparts in Kentucky who said the Corps “had to release water on us that they wouldn’t normally have had to release” because of maintenance problems with some of the dams in Kentucky.

“If they did release that water on us because of their failure to maintain their dams, I think they owe us more compensation down here,” he said. “So part of the damage here could be a manmade disaster, as opposed to a natural disaster.”

— Snip

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that the release of water from a dam upstream of Nashville during the flooding prompted a U.S. Senate inquiry into whether the public was adequately warned about rising waters downstream.

The Corps said the controlled release of water from Old Hickory Dam that weekend prevented the lake from spilling over the dam and flooding Nashville with an additional 4 feet of water.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has asked for a hearing on how well the corps and other state and federal agencies delivered information to businesses and individuals in the midst of the flooding that killed nine in Nashville alone.

The US Army Corps of Engineers says that they are “open and transparent about our water management practices.”

That’s good.

Whether they did something to make the situation in Nashville worse or not, investigating their actions in this crisis is something that needs to happen, to either affirm that their actions were appropriate, or to help them learn from their mistakes and hopefully ensure that such mistakes don’t happen again.

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