Over the past 30 years, mountaintop removal coal mining has destroyed more than 500 mountains and buried over 2000 miles of rivers and streams across Appalachia.
More than one million acres, a land mass the size of Delaware, have been leveled by the coal industry to uncover increasingly thin seams of coal. The vast majority of mountaintop removal coal mining is occurring in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia - but the coal industry has its sights set on the mountains of Tennessee. Tennessee produces less than one percent of America’s coal. Nearly all Tennessee coal (98%) comes from just three Counties (Claiborne, Campbell, and Anderson.)
Mountaintop removal coal means fewer mining jobs for mining communities. Traditional underground mining operations are being replaced with high powered explosives and large earth moving equipment. Since 1990, 68% of mining jobs in Tennessee have been eliminated.
The environmental and public health consequences of mountaintop removal coal mining are well documented. When mountains are detonated, many toxins – including mercury, selenium, lead, arsenic, chromium etc. – are released into the air and surrounding watersheds. These chemical compounds have been linked to heart disease, pulmonary disorders and birth defects in communities surrounding mountaintop removal mining operations.
The bi-partisan Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act would ban mountaintop removal coal mining on ridgelines above 2000 feet in Tennessee. The legislation is supported by religious congregations, conservationists, business leaders and elected officials from both sides of the aisle. With your support, Tennessee can become the first state in the US to pass a ban on this destructive mining practice.
We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who care about protecting our mountains and ensuring that we leave Tennessee a better place for our children and grandchildren. We urge our state legislators to enact legislation that will ban the dangerous practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.
We urge our leaders to act now to pass the bipartisan Tennessee Scenic Vistas Act which will end mountaintop removal mining in Tennessee.