Health of Tennesse Waterways Protected: Coal Mining Corp ordered to Stop Destructive Practices
October 3, 2006
The Sierra Club, Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), and their allies recently achieved a small, but important victory in their effort to challenge coal strip mining at Zeb Mountain in East Tennessee. On September 21st state regulators concluded that National Coal Corporation (NCC) had illegally dumped mining waste into streams and destroyed stream habitat in violation of the Clean Water Act. This ruling provides some vindication for activists from Sierra Club, SOCM, Tenn. Clean Water Network, and other groups who have diligently monitored NCC and embarked on coordinated efforts to protect the mountains, culture and communities of Tennessee.
In their ruling, state regulators ordered National Coal Corp. to halt mining immediately within certain watersheds until it has remedied the violation and developed a plan to restore the damaged watershed, and the state also filed the company $43,000. This order is the first of its kind since a change in state law gave the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation the authority to stop work at coal mines the agency determines have illegally polluted waterways. The Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club was instrumental in getting the new Stop Work law passed. While the stop work order will help to minimize harm to the affected water sheds, it falls short of the broader action that needs to protect the environment and the local community from this massive mining operation.
Sierra Club and its allies oppose destructive coal strip mining, especially mountaintop removal and other steep slope mining that harms the environment and the quality of life of rural residents. The lawsuit is part of an overall campaign by the Club to promote smart energy solutions that transition the country away from burning coal.
October 1, 2003
“Mountaintop removal mining” literally strips mountaintops to get at the coal layered underneath. The excess rock or “overburden” is then dumped into adjacent valleys. The process converts wild mountains into wastelands that are polluted, prone to flooding, and inhospitable to wildlife. The Bush Administration recently granted a permit to a coal company for mountaintop removal mining at Zeb Mountain, located in northeast Tennessee, near the Kentucky border. The Sierra Club has sued challenging the ludicrous claim that there will be no significant environmental impact from the mining.
Details and Documents:
See other "Stopping Mountaintop Removal and Other Destructive Mining" cases.