Mountain top removal is a pollution nightmare. I was not aware we allowed that in this state to start with.
Tennessee's record on surface mining regulation has been so bad at times that it was taken over by the feds as far back as the Alexander administration.
Tennessee's regulatory philosophy has always been hands off. No one should be surprised that this is going on here. The only reason it isn't more common is that there isn't as much opportunity here as there is in Kentucky and West Virginia. We don't have as much coal as they have.
A mining company out of Knoxville has been buying up surface rights, including rights to land that is part of the Sundquist and Royal Blue Wildlife Management areas where elk have been reintroduced to Tennessee (yes, elk are native to Tennessee, but that's another story; so are bison). They came to the legislature last year to fight the bill Sens. Ketron and Jackson and Reps. Dunn and McDonald are now attempting to get passed.
These good legislators need your help. You can't believe how devastating mountain top removal mining is without actually seeing it. It's far worse than anything you can imagine.