The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Tennessee Republican Calls for Eliminating, Not Just Restricting, Mountaintop Mining

Environmentalists might be applauding the Obama administration’s new restrictions on mountaintop coal mining as the most significant step the government has

Madihah Walls
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Apr 02, 2010

Environmentalists might be applauding the Obama administration’s new restrictions on mountaintop coal mining as the most significant step the government has ever taken to rein in the practice. But don’t tell that to Sen. Lamar Alexander. The Tennessee Republican is calling for a full ban (not just tighter limits) on the dumping of mining waste into Appalachian streams — a prohibition that Tennessee has had on the books for years.

Conveniently, Alexander has a bill that would do just that. The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), would redefine mining waste as a pollutant, thus barring companies from dumping debris into valleys below their mountaintop projects. The idea is that if it becomes too expensive to truck the debris off-site, then companies will stop blowing up mountains altogether.

“The new EPA guidelines are useful in stopping some inappropriate coal mining in Appalachia but Congress still needs to pass the Cardin-Alexander legislation that would effectively end mountaintop removal mining,” Alexander said in a statement issued Thursday. “By mountaintop removal, we mean blowing the tops off of mountains and dumping the waste in streams.”

Such statements put Alexander at odds with a number of Appalachian lawmakers, who view any new environmental protections in coal country as a threat to jobs in the region. But there’s good reason why Alexander has adopted his position. Tennessee is home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, by far the most visited national park in the country. Last year, nearly 9.5 million people visited the Great Smoky, compared to 4.3 million visitors to the Grand Canyon, which ranks second.

Considering those tourism numbers, Tennessee’s lawmakers have no interest in wrecking the same mountains that are drawing those people in. Indeed, they’ve discovered a way to create sustainable local jobs without poisoning their waters and communities.

“Coal is an essential part of our energy future,” Alexander said, ”but it is not necessary to destroy our mountaintops in order to have enough coal to meet our needs.”

Madihah Walls | Madihah Walls is an author who specializes in carriages, corsets, and smartwatches. Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist have all given her books starred reviews. Courtney earned a master's degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley before turning to romance writing. She then went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude, only to shake things up. After that, she did a few clerkships. She used to be a law professor. She is now a full-time writer.

Related

Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen

Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight

Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight

Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment

In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep

Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!

The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the

Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’

Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday

Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store

Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public

Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs

Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability

Rep. Pete Stark Won’t Dignify Constituent by, er, Micturating Upon His Leg

In the tradition of Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark revealed at a recent town hall gathering that there are limits to what

Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan

Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com