Cooper Amendment to Manage Flood Risk Passes House

Jul 30, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today introduced an amendment to permit the Old Hickory Dam and Cordell Hull Dam, both upstream of Nashville, to include flood risk management as one of their authorized purposes.

“Nashville was hit hard by a devastating flood a decade ago,” Rep. Jim Cooper said. “By allowing the Old Hickory and Cordell Hull dams to be used for flood risk management we mitigate the chance of future flooding.”

The amendment passed by voice vote, and will be included as part of seven-bill spending package that is expected to pass the House on Friday.

You can read Rep. Cooper’s full remarks below or watch here.

“Thank you, Mr. Speaker, once again I’d like to thank the great Chair of the Appropriations Committee for including three words that Nashville Tennessee desperately needs in the pending legislation in order to better manage our Cumberland River. These words are flood risk management.

A decade ago, Nashville suffered a devastating flood, costing more than two dozen lives and billions of dollars in damages. To mitigate the chance of future flooding we need to allow the two Army Corps of Engineers-operated dams that are directly upstream from Nashville, namely Old Hickory and Cordell Hull, to be used for flood risk management.

Contrary to common sense these dams today may not be used for flood control, even in emergencies, unless they have previously been congressionally authorized to do so.

The congressional authorization for Old Hickory and Cordell Hull Dams was made way back in 1946, and believe it or not it still governs, regardless of the massive growth of Nashville and numerous subsequent floods.

This archaic authority that the Corps has been operating under only allows Old Hickory and Cordell Hull to be used for navigation, recreation, and hydropower, but not for flood risk management. The Corps needs this flexibility to protect everyone downstream, as well as to prevent possible over-topping of their dams.

I have buy-in from my District Corps to make this happen and I hope that the National Corps of Army Engineers will listen.

Thanks again to Madam Chair and the entire Appropriations Committee for including this in the en bloc. I yield back the balance of my time.”