From press releases
State Sen. Raymond Finney and Rep. Mike McDonald (D-Portland) recently introduced the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act, a bill to dramatically curtail surface and cross ridge mining in Tennessee.
The bill, proposed Jan. 22, proposes no new water permits to be issued by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) for surface mining until a Comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement is completed by the federal Office of Surface Mining; no permits for any surface coal operations within 100 feet of any surface water in the State of Tennessee and no permit certification for any surface coal mining that alters or disturbs any ridgeline above 2000 feet in elevation.
According to a press release, cross ridge mining literally blows the tops off mountains to extract coal, leaving behind a devastated landscape and a host of problems for the residents of surrounding communities, including water pollution, flooding, lowered property values, and the permanent destruction of the scenic beauty that, if left intact, can enrich these communities in the future through real estate development and tourism dollars.
“Our faith calls us to be good stewards of God’s creation and to be concerned for the well-being of our neighbors,” said Lindquist Environmental Appalachian Fellowship co-founder Patricia Hudson.
LEAF is a Christian group whose mission is to spread the message of Creation Care to congregations in East Tennessee. “All you have to do is look at what’s happened at mountain top removal sites in Kentucky and West Virginia to see how devastating this type of mining is for both the land and its residents.”