Front Porch Blog

Sewanee Coal Seam Prohibition Bill Introduced in TN

Tennessee State Senator Berke and Representative McDonald Introduce Legislation That Will Protect Tennessee’s Mountains, Waters, and Public Health. Appalachian Voices Urges TN Legislature to Support This Bill.

Appalachian Voices and other allies across Tennessee, including “Statewide Organizing For Community eMpowerment” (i.e. “SOCM“) were successful in working with the Tennessee Legislature to file a bill that will ban surface coal mining on the Sewanee coal seam. The Sewanee seam runs from Kentucky to Alabama and is the most toxic seam east of the Mississippi River. So far, there has been no way to mine on the seam that protect citizens and waterways from acid mine drainage.

There is currently no coal production on the Sewanee, all the more reason for the legislature to act now. Appalachian Voices believes that the Sewanee seam should stay undisturbed, mainly due to potential hazardous impacts on waterways and on the health of those of us living downstream.

Wanda Hodge, who lives on Walden’s Ridge, says:

The communities that would be impacted by acid mine drainage from the Sewanee can not afford the thousands and thousands of dollars it would take to lobby the Water Quality Board or can they necessarily afford to take off from work to address the board if the Commissioner decides that mining could happen in the Sewanee.

One foreign company (Novadx from Canada) is already speculating on the Sewanee seam. Tennesseans can not afford another out-of-state, out-of-country company that comes in and leaves our communities with nothing but poisoned water while sending our mountains and our money out of state.

SOCM’s Landon Medley gives an overview of the impacts from previous mining on the Sewanee coal seam:

There are presently four water treatment trust fund sites in the state of Tennessee. A trust fund site is where the water has to be treated “in Perpetuity” because of impacts from mining. Not every single trust fund site is a result of acid mine drainage, but of the 22 sites identified as “future Trust Fund” sites, 17 are in the Sewanee coal seam.

Tennesseans can take action by calling their state Senators and asking them to become a sponsor of Senator Berke’s Sewanee Coal Seam Prohibition bill.





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