Front Porch Blog

Tennessee mountains are at risk, here’s what you can do

UPDATE: There’s still time to speak up for our mountains! Tennesseans can submit public comments regarding a proposed surface mine in Claiborne County to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation until May 16. Help protect the communities and environment near Clear Fork mine by adding your comment today:

Please reference NPDES permit TN0069809 and email your comments to Gary.Mullins@tn.gov, or mail them to:

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Division of Water Resources
Mining Section
3711 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37921-6538

——————————————————————–

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is conducting a public hearing tomorrow on a proposed surface mine in Claiborne County, Tenn.

Fortunately, there’s still time to submit comments or show up to speak at the hearing.

Kopper Glo Fuel, Inc., a Tennessee-based coal company, wants a state pollution permit to begin operating the 578-acre Clear Fork surface mine. As with any strip mine, the Clear Fork mine would be detrimental to local communities and the environment.

The proposed mine site is surrounded by streams that regularly show high conductivity, an indicator of poor water quality and a direct result of previous surface mining in the area. If the permit is approved, Kopper Glo would discharge its pollution into local streams including Clear Fork, a tributary of the Cumberland River.

Tennessee groups including Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment and Tennessee Clean Water Network have opposed the Clear Fork mine for years. Kopper Glo even withdrew the permit after groups appealed a TDEC finding that degradation of local streams by the company was justified by economic and social necessity.

Surface mines in Tennessee employ just a few hundred workers. Compare that number to the approximately 175,000 jobs supported by the tourism industry – a sector compromised by polluted water and formerly lush landscapes carved away.

In Claiborne County alone, tourism brought in $14 million in 2007, according to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. The coal industry, on the other hand, may well represent a net cost to the state to the tune of $3 million.

Help stop this new strip mine in an area already devastated by surface mining by attending the public hearing tomorrow from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at TDEC’s office in Knoxville: 3711 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, TN 37921

Can’t attend in person? Written comments submitted by May 16 will be included in the hearing record. Please reference NPDES permit TN0069809 and mail your comments to Gary.Mullins@tn.gov, or mail them to:

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Division of Water Resources
Mining Section
3711 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37921-6538

As a former neighbor to a mountaintop removal coal mine, Ann has a special passion for protecting the Appalachian Mountains. She served as Appalachian Voices' Tennessee Campaign Coordinator from 2013-2014 before becoming Executive Director of SOCM (Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment)


TAGS: