Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Mountain-top Removal Mining in Tennessee

(Nashville, TN - Feb. 28, 2012) The Senate Energy and Environment Committee approved legislation this week ensuring that Mountain Top Removal Mining, as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal Office of Surface Mining, is banned in Tennessee.  State law already prohibits this form of surface mining that involves the blasting of the summit of a mountain to expose underlying coal seams.  Senate Bill 577 adds the federal definition of the practice to Tennessee’s law to ensure that there is no misinterpretation that Mountain Top Removal Mining is prohibited in the state.
Well-meaning environmental groups have for years sought to ban the practice in Tennessee not realizing the surface coal mining done in this state consists , primarily, of re-mining  which involves reclaiming old mine sites. Scientific evidences suggests re-mining improves water quality in the areas being re-mined.
The bill will not adversely effect existing mining jobs and maintains coal severance taxes used by mining counties for schools and roads.
"This bill is good news for miners, their families, and the taxpayers of Claiborne County which stood to loose thousands of dollars in coal severance taxes if the bill as originally proposed had passed," said Senator Mike Faulk who represents Claiborne County. "There should be no mistake, mountain top removal mining, no matter what the definition, will be banned in Tennessee. If that's all the environmental groups seek, it will be clear when the bill finally passes. But if their true wishes are to ban coal mining altogether, that issue will have to be debated another day."
Comment: The above is a press release from Senator Mike Faulk. 

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