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ACTION ALERTS–ACTION URGENTLY NEEDED
Action call #1 TVA is updating Integrated Resource Plan Deadline: April 8, 2019
Normally, TVA updates its IRP (Integrated Resource Plan) at 5-year intervals, but because of the rapidly changing utility marketplace, TVA is already holding public meetings around the valley to review its newly developed proposal. The 2019 Scoping Report can be viewed at https://www.tva.gov/file_source/TVA/Site%20Content/Environment/Environmental%20Stewardship/IRP/2019%20Documents/TVA%202019%20IRP%20Scoping%20Report_20180731.pdf.
The IRP considers 30 portfolios of energy sourcing and management, and folds these into 5 strategies.
A. Base Case: Continued implementation of the 2015 IRP in accordance with least-cost optimization and reliability constraints.
B. Promote Distributed Energy Resources: Implement small scale energy sources such as solar panels or institutional heating/cooling plants.
C. Resiliency: Add small, agile capacity to maximize flexibility and promote resiliency to be able to respond to short-term disruptions on the power system. This could include small modular reactors, microgrids, and flexible loads.
D. Efficient Energy Usage: Incentivize targeted electrification, demand and energy management to minimize peaks and troughs and promote efficient energy usage.
E. Promote Renewables: Incentivize renewables at all scales to meet growing prospective or existing customer demands for renewable energy.
TVA welcomes input about which energy sources matter, with comments sent to email@example.com by April 8.
What you can do:
Thank TVA for responding to the rapidly changing energy market, and ask that Strategies B through E be implemented. Comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 8.
Action call #2 Administration’s proposed WOTUS rule changes are a major threat to our waters: Deadline: April 15, 2019
The Trump Administration’s proposed new definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) constitutes a very great threat to our environment, and time is getting short for taking opposing action (please see Action Box below). The proposed rules change essentially eliminates Clean Water Act protection from headwater and seasonally-flowing waterways and from wetlands, undoing the clarifying 2015 Clean Water Rule under which we should be operating. (We recommend you read NL343 ¶5A for more details about the background.)
The Trump proposal threatens to remove protections from drinking water sources for 200 million Americans. This includes three of every four Tennesseans; most people in Tennessee get their drinking water from surface water intakes connected to rivers and streams. More than 32,000 miles of streams that flow into Tennessee’s rivers and lakes would be at risk for pollution. (Water flows downhill, and pollution in even the smallest watercourses will end up in rivers whose waters we drink, swim in, or recreate in.) Wetlands provide essential wildlife habitat. Hundreds of thousands of acres of wetlands in Tennessee that provide flood protection, filter pollution, and provide essential wildlife habitat are at risk. (These figures from SELC). Major economic impact would be felt by Tennessee’s recreational industry, tourism, and the thriving breweries, wineries, and distilleries that rely on clean water.
Ever since Pres. Trump announced the proposed rules change in February 2017 (accusing the Obama Administration’s WOTUS definitions of targeting “nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land”), he and his administration have put farmers front and center as beneficiaries of the proposed rollback – a strategy based on the strong regard Americans historically hold for farming. In fact, it would be home builders, oil and gas drillers, and other industry owners who would benefit the most were it to become easier to fill in bogs, creeks, and streams for building, drilling, or mining. The Clean Water Act of 1972 itself exempts farmers and farmland from most of the regulatory hurdles that the Trump Administration is targeting; and these agricultural protections were not changed by the 2015 Clean Water Rule.
What you can do:
We are facing a deadline of April 15 and hope you can do one or both of the following.
1. Contribute an opinion piece or letter to the editor opposing the proposed clean-water rollback. 2. Before April 15, submit a comment to the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.regulations.gov — choose Revised Definition of Waters of the United States). Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149. (Optional but not necessary: you can read the very long, Federal Register notice at https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise.)
Action call #3 Volunteer for TCWP exhibit: Deadline: April 20, 2019
TCWP needs two hours of your time. Volunteers are needed to staff the TCWP exhibit at Earth Fest on Saturday, April 20, at the Knoxville Botanical Garden. We plan to have two people at our table for each two-hour shift between 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. Shifts start on the even hours. Visiting kids who pass a fossil/bone ID quiz will be given chunks of geodes.
What You Can Do:
Please contact Sandra Goss (865-583-3967, or Sandra@sandrakgoss.com) to tell her of your willingness to help.
Action call #4 Volunteering in Parks
The following lists of volunteer opportunities were provided by Frozen Head State Park staff:
A. Independent tasks (without presence of Park Personnel):
•Weeding flower beds
•Painting signs and banisters
•Program Schedule distribution
•Litter patrol in the Gobey (Emory River) area
•Ditch clearing in the Flat Fork area
•Removing mold and mildew from the Book House
B. With direct supervision of Park Personnel:
•Mulching beds and trees
•Putting up Park fencing
•Special-event(s) set up
•Volunteer-day assistance (e.g. National Public Lands Day)
For all tasks, volunteers are required to first check in at the Park Office for instructions and guidance, and the issuance of an identification name tag.
You can also join the Trail Keeper Program, or volunteer for any of several other service activities at BSFNRRA or Obed WSR. Contact the volunteer coordinators, Effie Houston (email@example.com) for BSFNRRA, or Veronica Greear (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Obed WSR.
Action call #5 Restore our Parks Act is Reintroduced
[Information from The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks]
On February 14, the bipartisan bill that would address the backlog in NPS maintenance projects (NL341 ¶5B) was reintroduced by the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Angus King (I-ME). He was joined by Senators Alexander (R-TN), Portman (R-OH), and Warner (D-VA), and there were 21 additional original cosponsors. A similar bill introduced in the House of Representatives the same day had more than 90 cosponsors. The act would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” to allocate existing revenues the government receives from onshore and offshore oil and gas development. This funding would come from 50% of all such revenues that are not otherwise allocated, not to exceed $1.3 billion each year for the next five years.
P.S.: The president’s budget released early in March calls for a total cut of $481 million to the NPS budget, including a $77 million cut to the Park Service’s already inadequate operating budget. This would result in the loss of hundreds of park staff and dig our parks into an even bigger financial hole.
What you can do:
Urge your congressman and both senators to support the Restore Our Parks bill (addresses in Political Guide at top of page).
Thank Sen. Alexander for co-sponsoring the bill. (Ph: 202-224-4944; Fax: 202-228-3398 e-mail:email@example.com Local: 865-545-4253 (Fax 865-545-4252) 800 Market St., Suite 112 Knoxville 37902
Action call #6 2018 Voting Record
LCV publishes the 2018 Environmental Scorecard [Information from League of Conservation Voters]
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has published a National Environmental Scorecard for every Congress since 1970. For 2018, experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations selected key votes (14 and 35 for Senate and House, respectively) on which to judge members of Congress. Excluded are issues on which no recorded vote occurred. The divide between environmental champions and politicians who vote for polluters and natural-resource exploiters has never been wider. In 2017, Senate Republicans hit a new low with a 1% average score, the lowest-scoring Senate average since LCV began tracking votes in 1970. In contrast, House Democrats tied their highest average score of 94%.
In 2018, the House continued to serve as a rubber stamp on the Trump administration’s attacks, and once again pushed their own breathtakingly anti-environmental agenda.
The good news is that, thanks to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the “Green Firewall” of defense, the overwhelming majority of the House’s harmful legislative proposals didn’t even come up for a vote in the Senate. There were a few instances of bipartisan cooperation, largely thanks to leadership from the Senate. This included the passage into law of a pro-conservation Farm Bill (which, of course, included the Tennessee Wilderness Act, NL343 ¶1).
The Senate Scorecard also includes votes on several extreme nominees to serve in the Trump administration. One of the most damaging legacies of Trump’s presidency will be reshaping the federal judiciary with his nomination of extreme and partisan candidates for lifetime appointments. This includes the Supreme Court, which wields immense power over the interpretation of our bedrock environmental protections.
This year’s scorecard, as well as past ones, can be viewed at http://scorecard.lcv.org/.
A few of the results are summarized below.
Table 1. Average 2018 LCV scores for Congressional leaders and all members
|Senate committee leaders* (5R,5D)||10||94|
|House committee leaders* (6R,6D)||6||81|
|Senate party leaders** (4R,4D)||11||100|
|House party leaders** (5R,4D)||2||86|
|All senators ***||8||95|
*Committee leaders are chairs (Repub.) or ranking members (Dem.).
**Party leaders are majority/minority leaders, whips, conference chairs, etc.
***Two Independents caucused with Democrats
Table 2. LCV scores for the Tennessee delegation.
With an average Senate score of 7, Tennessee placed among the 11 lowest states (which ranged from 4-7). Though the average score for Tennessee’s House delegation was a low 23, our state didn’t make it down to the 11 lowest, which had a range of 0-9.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Tell your representative and both senators (addresses in Political Guide at top of Take Action page) that environmental issues matter to you, and that, based on their LCV score, you either commend them or are disappointed in them.
Action call #7 TENNESSEE WILDERNESS ACT PASSES – AT LAST
We now have an additional ~20,000 acres in the Cherokee National Forest protected under the 1963 Wilderness Act. When the Tennessee Wilderness Act repeatedly failed to pass as stand-alone legislation, Senators Alexander and Corker included it in the must-pass Farm Bill. Rep. Phil Roe (R-1) became the House sponsor. On December 11, during the Lame Duck Session, both Houses of Congress passed the Farm Bill that had emerged from the conference committee with most of its environmental poison pills removed. The bill was signed into law a few days later.
What you can do
Please express your thanks to:
Senator Lamar Alexander (Ph: 202-224-4944; Fax: 202-228-3398 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Local: 865-545-4253 (Fax 865-545-4252) 00 Market St., Suite 112 Knoxville 37902 and to Representative Phil Roe (Ph: 202- 225-6356 ; Fax: (202) 225-5714 email is through https://roe.house.gov/Contact Local: 423-247-8161(Fax: 423-247-0119) 205 Revere Street Kingsport, TN 37660 (Sen. Corker is now retired)
Action call #8 Campaign to include the Nolichucky in the National W&S Rivers System gains support – AT LAST
Campaign to include the Nolichucky in the National W&S Rivers System gains support
A campaign that got going in the summer of 2017 to designate the Nolichucky a National Wild & Scenic River (NL335 ¶1C) has since gained momentum. According to TSRA, the campaign has garnered thousands of endorsements from individuals and businesses and the support of many groups, including American Whitewater and the local chapter of Trout Unlimited. A petition has gathered well over 20,000 signatures, and a new endorsement webpage has been set up.
What you can do
To learn more about how you can support this effort, visit
Our up-to-the minute Newsletters and e-lerts give you the facts and instruct you about specific actions you can take.
Our Political Guide provides information on how to contact decision makers.
We often partner with sister organizations.
TCWP has many other opportunities to volunteer for short-term project (e.g.. preparing mailings, work a shift at the TCWP booth during festivals, work on a comment generation campaign)
Email Executive Director, Sandra Goss