Today Tennessee Senator Raymond Finney (R-Maryville) and Rep. Mike McDonald (D-Portland) introduced The Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act, a bill to dramatically curtail surface and cross ridge mining in Tennessee. The bill proposes:
No new water permits to be issued by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) for surface mining until a Comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement is completed by the federal Office of Surface Mining.
No permits for any surface coal operations within 100 feet of any surface water in the State of Tennessee.
No permit certification for any surface coal mining that alters or disturbs any ridgeline above 2000 feet in elevation.
The destructive form of coal mining known as mountain top removal (called cross ridge mining in Tennessee) is poised to expand within the state. More than a dozen state permits for proposed sites are currently pending. Cross ridge mining literally blows the tops off mountains to extract coal, leaving behind a devastated landscape and a host of problems for the residents of surrounding communities, including water pollution, flooding, lowered property values, and the permanent destruction of the scenic beauty that, if left intact, can enrich these communities in the future through real estate development and tourism dollars. Because cross ridge mining is heavily mechanized, it creates very few jobs for local residents.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.