Front Porch Blog

Tennessee Votes on Scenic Vistas Tomorrow. CALL TODAY!

Call today and Urge Tennessee Legislators to Protect the Beauty and Economic Vitality of the Cumberland Plateau.

Tennessee legislators are scheduled to take up a critical vote tomorrow on the Scenic Vistas Protection Act — a good bill with broad, bipartisan support that would help one of Tennessee’s most important assets – our mountains.

Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) will be carrying the bill (HB 43 / SB 99) in the House Subcommittee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Senator Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) in the Senate Committee on Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.

Appalachian Voices urges you to call committee members and ask them to support the common sense “Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act (HB 43 / SB 99)“.

House:
Chairman Ron Lollar (R-Bartlett) / 615-741- 7084
Curtis Halford (R-Dyer) / 615-741-7478
Andy Holt (R-Dresden) / 615-741-7847
Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma) / 615-741-7448
Billy Spivey (R-Franklin) / 615-741-4170
John Tidwell (D-New Johnsonville) / 615-741-7098
Ron Travis (R-Dayton) / 615-741-1450
Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) / 615-741-1997 [This is a “Thank you!” as Representative Gilmore is a cosponsor of the Scenic Vistas bill.]

Senate:
Chairman Steve Southerland (R-Morristown)/615-741-3851
Mae Beavers (R-Mt Juliet)/ 615-741-2421
Jim Summerville (R-Dickson) / 615-741-4499
Mike Bell (R-Riceville) / 615-741-1946
Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey) / 615-741-3978
Ophelia Ford (D-Memphis) / 615-741-1767
Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) / 615-741-6682
Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) / 615-741-2368
Frank Niceley (R-Knoxville) / 615-741-2061

Tell these legislators your name and let them know you are a Tennessean who cares about protecting our mountains. And please pass this along, so that legislators hear from as many Tennesseans as possible.

Talking points and bill information below…

What does this bill do?
The Scenic Vistas Protection Act says that you can’t alter or remove a ridgeline above 2,000 feet when surface mining for coal.

What does this bill NOT do?
– Scenic Vistas DOES NOT impact underground mining or other important industries in Tennessee.
– Scenic Vistas DOES NOT Impact any current surface mining permits or their renewals, which are grandfathered in.
– Scenic Vistas DOES NOT impact re-mining.

Talking Points
– As Tennesseans, we love our mountains, and we don’t think we need to blast them apart for a small amount of coal.

– We don’t have to hate coal and we don’t have to hate coal mining to want to protect our mountains. We just want Tennessee to be the first state to say “We’re going to mine coal AND protect our mountaintops at the same time.”

– Since 1985, the Tennessee coal industry has laid off 85 percent of their workforce, while the percentage of our coal coming from surface mining versus underground mining has increased. Scenic Vistas will help protect coal mining jobs in our state.

– Mountaintop removal is bad business, and the coal industry itself is realizing that this destructive form of mining isn’t worth the cost. Patriot Coal, one of the largest coal companies in the nation, recently announced that they are stopping mountaintop removal operations because not only is it damaging to the environment, but it’s bad for their employees and for the communities where they work.

Email us at tn@appvoices.org to let us know what the offices are saying!

Raised on the banks of the Tennessee River, JW's work to create progress in his home state and throughout Appalachia has been featured on the Rachel Maddow Show, The Daily Kos and Grist. He served first as Appalachian Voices’ Legislative Associate and then Tennessee director until leaving to pursue a career in medicine in 2012.


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