Front Porch Blog

Governor Haslam’s Moment

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has come a long way since his election in 2010. This year, he could become the first governor in the nation to lead his state away from mountaintop removal.

The Man: Governor Haslam was born and raised in east Tennessee. He grew up in Knoxville, where the Great Smoky Mountains meet up with the majestic Cumberland Plateau. He would later become mayor of Knoxville, focusing on historic preservation and balancing the city’s budget. In 2010, he was elected for his first term as Governor of Tennessee, succeeding Democrat Phil Bredesen. During the campaign, Mayor Haslam spoke out against mountaintop removal, saying that while we needed to mine coal, he opposed the practice of mountaintop removal (video below). Now that his party has a super-majority in both houses of the state legislature, the Governor has greater opportunity to have an impact on policies adopted by the State House and State Senate.

The Issue: Mountaintop removal is bringing down more Tennessee mountaintops every year, leaving behind devastated landscapes and poisoned water. In Tennessee, not only do we love our mountains, our economy depends on them. Our topography-driven tourism industry brings in more than $14 billion to our state every year and employs more than 175,000 Tennesseans. Tennessee has lost 85 percent of its coal mining jobs since 1985 due to an increase in the percentage of production that comes from surface mining, as well as an overall decline in production. We don’t need to blow up our mountaintops to mine coal.

The Solution: The Scenic Vistas Protection Act is a bill with bipartisan support in the state legislature, making it to the Senate floor in 2012. This legislation will stop high-elevation surface mining techniques like mountaintop removal in Tennessee, protecting our citizens, our economy and our rural communities. The bill is being reintroduced this year, and Governor Haslam can show his leadership by demanding that the state legislature pass this bill and put it on his desk to be signed into law.

Call Governor Haslam today at 615-741-2001. Let him know that you support the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act, and want to see him end mountaintop removal in Tennessee.

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3 Comments

  1. Rebecca Simmons on January 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

    We must work together to ABOLISH mountain top removal.



  2. Esther Wiess on January 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I support the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act with the banning of
    mountain top removal of coal being at the top of my list.



  3. Emily Vreeland on January 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Please BAN mountain top removal. Emily Vreeland



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