Sen. Faulk voted with his party March 14 to kill the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Act. The bill’s purpose was to protect Tennessee’s virgin ridge lines above 2,000 feet from mountaintop removal mining.Check out the Mountaintop Removal Road Show. Give your TN senators of piece of your mind.
Presentation time was dominated by the coal industry, represented by the Tennessee Mining Association’s lobbyist. In attendance and celebrating the failure of the bill was the lobbyist for the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The coal lobbyist informed the committee that few small Tennessee mine operators remain, as the locals have been bought out by big companies from Texas and West Virginia. He then offered what has become a common threat from aggressive big guns. They have deep pockets and stood ready to fund a challenge if the bill passed.
If senators had been unclear about who pulls the strings at the Tennessee Mining Association, they can no longer plead ignorance. Still, they killed the bill designed to protect the most biodiverse region in the world.
Have no illusions. Six Tennessee mountaintops (of the 500 in Central Appalachia) are already blasted away with no topsoil or headwaters left for recovery and reforestation. Mining company promises to reclaim the land for economic development are meaningless, irrefutably demonstrated by the fact that 89 percent of the 500 remain ugly scars with toxic valley fills with no effective mechanism in place to force compliance.
Mr. Faulk owes us an explanation. It’s phony to cite job creation or energy needs. MTR operators bring in explosives, enormous machines, and most of the small labor force required and leave behind their toxic mess, without revealing how much of the coal is slated for the Asian market.
We need a champion here, not party solidarity.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Who Needs Mountains, Anyway?
Thanks to FPC Elizabethton friend, Jennie Young, for this letter regarding Mountain Top Removal mining that is coming to Tennessee. We have some time to stop this insanity but not much. Thanks, Jennie, for speaking out in the Kingsport Times-News: