Front Porch Blog

Stopping Mountaintop Removal: TARGET TENNESSEE

Mountaintop removal is now storming across my native state of Tennessee. Dozens of MTR permits are out, and several active sites are already devastating the Cumberland Plateau in order to mine the low-quality, high-sulfur coal of central Tennessee. Much of it can not even be burned in the United States.

Green represents coal in TN

Surface mining permits in red

Several groups like the wonderful people of “Save Our Cumberland Mountains” (SOCM) are doing great work to stop MTR in Tennessee.

Popular Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D-TN) is in charge of TDEC — the regulatory agency the permits the water quality aspects of mining in the state and he has the authority to call for a new energy plan for TN. SOCM and several others are setting their sights on Governor Bredesen to stop the devastating strip-mining and mountaintop removal mining taking place in Tennessee.

Take a friend…

Join the Fight for Community Assets!
Mountains Should Be Forever!
Stand up and tell our Governor and other elected officials that stripmining is an election issue for us! As citizens of Tennessee we demand a just, renewable energy future that does not destroy our community assets. Sign up for the Rally today:

WHAT: Press Conference/Rally for community assets and just energy future!
WHEN: Sept 27th @ noon EST (transportation from select areas provided, for more info contact
WHERE: State Capitol – Legislative Plaza
CONTACT: or (865) 426-9455

Why MTR & Elections?
The SOCM Stripmine Issues Committee has identified the Governor’s Race as a primary target for election work around stripmine issues. Under the Tennessee Water Quality Law the State has responsibility for regulating the impacts of mining on the waters of Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, a department under the Governor, is charged with enforcing the TN Water Quality Law. For surface coal mining operations the NPDES permit process is the primary means the State of Tennessee has for determining whether the proposed activity will violate State water quality law and for deciding whether or not to permit the operation. As such, we strongly hold that the state should recognize that the decision to grant or deny an NPDES permit for mining as the primary opportunity it has to exercise its duty and authority to end mountain top removal stripmining in Tennessee.

The battle to save Tennessee is underway.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), Tennessee’s most powerful politician, is leaving his position to Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to pursue a presidential bid, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help the cause right now.

To help pass the Abandoned Mine Land Fund, from SOCM

Please leave a message on Senator Frist’s voicemail THIS weekend stating:

(1) You want AML Reauthorization passed in the US Senate by SEPT 29th

(2) You want AML freed up from the Estate Tax (note: the estate tax is not going anywhere this session, and Frist voted for it to go there)

The Abandoned Mine Land Fund (AML)– are the funds allocated to clean up the abandoned mines in Tennessee and throughout the nation. Without AML Reauthorization no funds are available to clean up the mess that coal companies leave behind — meaning it becomes the toxic brunt of those living near the AML sites. Call Frist’s office this weekend: 615-352-9411





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