Tennessee lawmakers are currently considering legislation that would allow the state to assume regulatory authority, or “primacy,” over Tennessee coal mining. SB742/HB90 would allow for weakened environmental regulations at a time when the coal industry is collapsing.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has estimated that in order for the state to maintain this program, they will require over $870,000 per year from the state budget. The need for the state to take over this program is questionable, since Tennessee coal production plummeted 91% from 2009 to 2018, and fell to zero last spring and has remained there since.

Transferring regulatory authority from the federal government to the state simply does not make sense at this time. There is a looming, region-wide crisis of considerably inadequate funding to address mine clean-up as mining companies skirt their responsibility for reclamation by declaring bankruptcy. This problem will only continue as the coal industry continues to collapse. There is no good economic reason for the state to continue to pursue this path.

This new process will:

  • remove the need for mining companies to go through National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act Sec 7 consultations, which eliminates a layer of regulatory oversight
  • reduce opportunities for the public to be engaged in commenting on proposed projects
  • leave the state holding the bill for unfinished reclamation when mining companies skirt their reclamation duties by declaring bankruptcy

Rather than implementing a new mining program in an ill-conceived effort to bolster coal, the state should be spending time, energy and money on cleaning up already-mined land and boosting economic diversification in communities that can no longer rely on coal.

Contact your legislators now!

Mon 4/12/21 House Government Operations Committee HB 90

Part of AndersonJohn Ragan(615)741-4400rep.john.ragan@capitol.tn.gov
Houston, Humphreys and MontgomeryJay D. Reedy(615)741-7098rep.jay.reedy@capitol.tn.gov
Cocke, Jefferson, and part of GreeneJeremy Faison(615)741-6871rep.jeremy.faison@capitol.tn.gov
Part of KnoxGloria Johnson(615)741-2031rep.gloria.johnson@capitol.tn.gov
McMinn, MonroeMark Cochran(615)741-1725rep.mark.cochran@capitol.tn.gov
Part of Roane and part of LoudonKent Calfee(615)741-7658rep.kent.calfee@capitol.tn.gov
Part of SumnerWilliam Lamberth(615)741-1980rep.william.lamberth@capitol.tn.gov
Part of DavidsonMike Stewart(615)741-2184rep.mike.stewart@capitol.tn.gov
Part of DavidsonVincent Dixie(615)741-1997rep.vincent.dixie@capitol.tn.gov
Bedford and parts of LincolnPat Marsh(615)741-6824rep.pat.marsh@capitol.tn.gov
Part of MontgomeryCurtis Johnson(615)741-4341rep.curtis.johnson@capitol.tn.gov
Hardin, Lewis, Wayne and part of LawrenceDavid Byrd(615)741-2190rep.david.byrd@capitol.tn.gov
Cheatham and DicksonMary Littleton(615)741-7477rep.mary.littleton@capitol.tn.gov
Part of ShelbyKaren D. Camper(615)741-1898rep.karen.camper@capitol.tn.gov
Part of KnoxJustin Lafferty(615)741-4110rep.justin.lafferty@capitol.tn.gov
Marshall and part of Franklin, Lincoln and MarionTodd Warner(615)741-4170rep.todd.warner@capitol.tn.gov

Tue 4/13/21 Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee  SB742

Benton, Henry, Carroll, Gibson, Obion, WeakleyJohn Stevens(615)741-4576sen.john.stevens@capitol.tn.gov
Giles, Lawrence, Lewis, Maury, Perry, WayneJoey Hensley(615)741-3100sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov
Part of HamiltonBo Watson(615)741-3227sen.bo.watson@capitol.tn.gov
Sumner , Trousdale, and part of DavidsonFerrell Haile(615)741-1999sen.ferrell.haile@capitol.tn.gov
Part of DavidsonJeff Yarbro(615)741-3291sen.jeff.yarbro@capitol.tn.gov
Johnson, SullivanJon Lundberg(615)741-5761sen.jon.lundberg@capitol.tn.gov
Bradley and part of HamiltonTodd Gardenhire(615)741-6682sen.todd.gardenhir@capitol.tn.gove
Campbell, Fentress, Morgan, Rhea, Roane, Pickett, ScottKen Yager(615)741-1449sen.ken.yager@capitol.tn.gov
Part of RutherfordDawn White(615)741-6853Sen.Dawn.White@capitol.tn.gov
Part of DavidsonBrenda Gilmore(615)741-2453sen.brenda.gilmore@capitol.tn.gov
WilliamsonJack Johnson(615)741-2495sen.jack.johnson@capitol.tn.gov