Front Porch Blog

West Virginia Coal Groups Urge Boycott of Tennessee

Visit the beautiful mountains of TennesseeShortly after a Senate sub-committee hearing on the anti-mountaintop removal bill the Appalachia Restoration Act (co-sponsored by Senator Lamar Alexandar [R-TN] and Senator Ben Cardin [D-MD]), a letter was released to the public detailing how two subsidiary companies of Arch Coal were encouraging their employees and families to boycott Tennessee in response to Sen. Alexander’s support of the bill. The letter claimed that the two companies had canceled annual company outings to Dollywood in Gatlinburg, and encouraged their almost 1200 employees and their families to not visit the fair state of Tennessee for personal vacation.

Not to be deterred, Senator Alexander reportedly responded that “Every year, millions of tourists come to Tennessee and spend millions of dollars to see our scenic mountaintops, not to see mountains whose tops have been blown off and dumped into streams.”

Since the letter first came out, one of the companies, TECO Coal based in Kentucky, reportedly backed off from its original support of the boycott, stating “We regret our previous action, which was an emotional response that doesn’t benefit our 1,200 employees, the eastern Kentucky communities we support, the environment we work to protect or our neighbors in Tennessee.” Tennessee brings in a reported $14.2 billion in tourism revenue a year, compared to coal, which generates only $67 million for the state.

We would like to encourage our readers to visit Tennessee for vacation this year. We even held our summer staff retreat on the banks of Watauga Lake, near Butler. What a beautiful state.

Read the original story by WV Public Broadcasting, the original letter, and the recent article by the New York Times.





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