COVID-19 Update: Read about the most recent Sierra Club guidelines here.
Here are 3 quick online actions to take now
Take Action! Tell TVA that Kingston deserves clean energy, not dirty fossil fuels. TVA is planning to decommission the Kingston Coal Plant by 2027, and they have selected a new combined cycle gas plant and new 122 mile pipeline as the preferred option. TVA is taking comments right now about the options listed in their Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Tell TVA we don't want dirty gas, we want clean energy! Submit comments now.You can also submit comments directly to TVA
here by July 3rd. For reference, TVA's full Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) can be found here. A helpful guide for writing comments can be found
Take Action! Tell the EPA we need a strong standard to clean up our cars. The transportation sector makes up nearly 30 percent of our country’s climate pollution, more than any other sector in the United States. Tailpipe pollution also contains health-harming pollutants that can exacerbate asthma, and is also linked to lung disease and cancer. This is our chance to make a big change.
Sign our petition and leave a comment!
Take Action! Tell the EPA to regulate ALL coal ash! We successfully pushed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate toxic coal ash; now it's time to close the loophole that left over half a billion tons of toxic coal ash in landfills and ponds exempt from federal oversight. Write to EPA administrator Michael Regan here, via Earthjustice. Deadline: July 17th.
What does the future hold for Kingston Plant?
By Todd Waterman and Allie Stafford
Appalachian Voices, Sierra Club, and locals came together for a Community Meeting on June 14, immediately before the TVA Open House that same day. The meeting provided education and preparation before attending the TVA Open House, where TVA set forth the options described in its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) about the future of the Kingston Plant site.
At the Community Meeting, Gabi Lichtenstein (pictured speaking below) of Appalachian Voices laid out the case against replacing Kingston with a new methane gas plant and pipeline. The proposed pipeline would be owned by private Canadian company Enbridge Inc. and pass through about 7 miles of Roane County. According to Southern Alliance for Clean Energy's recent report, TVA, when compared to four other energy companies in the southeast, ranks lowest in projected solar power investment (
"Solar in the Southeast" 6th Annual Report, June 2023).
In the Open House, TVA pushed their preferred plan for the Kingston Site: Alternative A (gas plant and a 122-mile pipeline), claiming it was environmentally preferable (though only to coal). Costs and other data were skewed to make Alternative B (solar and battery storage) sound impossible.
The Southern Environmental Law Center is already suing TVA for violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by committing to build another combined-cycle combustion gas plant to replace its Cumberland coal plant without completing the required environmental review, or meaningfully considering replacing the plant with solar energy and battery storage. There are concerns about the climate impact of such a gas plant's upstream methane leakage and CO2. Remember to leave comments for TVA by July 3rd!
Gabi Lichtenstein of Appalachian Voices speaks at the Community Meeting on June 14, 2023. Photo: Todd Waterman.
New report shows how 80% of America's retired coal plants could soon become nuclear reactors. "A 2022 report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) identified 157 retired coal plant sites and 237 operating coal plant sites that can undergo a coal-to-nuclear transition...Nuclear energy is set to play a key role in meeting President Biden’s goals to achieve a clean grid by
2035 and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050."
Read more by Lajja Mistry - MSN - June 2023.
Bipartisan U.S. House bill seeks National Scenic Trail designation for Benton MacKaye Trail. "If passed in the House and Senate and signed by the president, the trail would become the 12th National Scenic Trail in the U.S., which includes the Appalachian Trail, Florida National Scenic Trail and Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail in the South. The 288-mile Benton MacKaye Trail traces an 82-mile path in Georgia and 206 miles more along the Tennessee/North Carolina border." Read more by Ben Benton - Times Free Press - May 31, 2023.
Outsider Explores: How Clark Brewer is changing Chattanooga, then the world, with ‘The Black Outdoorsmen’. “For me, the outdoors is a place of healing and peace,” Clark Brewer says, something the Chattanooga native
hopes to share with the world, no matter the color of their skin...Over the years, I have seen firsthand the positive changes that can occur when individuals are introduced to the outdoors and given the opportunity to explore and experience nature." Read more byJon D. B. - The Outsider - June 26, 2023.
Post-Sackett, chaos erupts for wetlands oversight. "A shocking Supreme Court decision scaling back protections for the majority of the nation's wetlands has unfurled a hazy regulatory landscape, even as it is set to both open up major development opportunities and threaten public lands across the country...Its implications for the regulated community are still unfolding. Wetlands determinations are on hold, and could be for some time. Some of the nation's most beloved areas, meanwhile, are significantly less protected than they were." Read more by E. A. Crunden - Politico - June 2, 2023.
Wetland conservation is in question after a recent Supreme Court decision. Pictured: "A pond with water lilies and swamp grass on the Anhinga trail in Everglades National Park, Florida."Photo credit: Daniel Kraft, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Health & Justice
State set to extend CoreCivic contract despite prison deaths. Tennessee has fined private operator $17.74M since 2020. "The move comes despite a spate of inmate deaths at CoreCivic-run prisons that led to lawsuits against the state. Commissioner Frank Strada did not address questions about inmate safety when asked about the contract extension Tuesday, only discussing the prison’s importance to the region and state...The Human Rights Defense Center and No Exceptions Prison Collective reported
CoreCivic experienced twice as many inmate murders over a five-year period as Department of Correction-run facilities in 2019 even though it houses only 30% of the state’s prisoners." Read more by Sam Stockard - Tennessee Lookout - May 31, 2023.
Part One: Residency programs and medical practices drew them to Tennessee. Then came Dobbs. "For OB-GYN doctors, Tennessee’s abortion laws limit their training and patient care, causing some to reconsider a state and a patient population they are reluctant to leave...Beyond its direct impact on pregnant women, Tennessee’s abortion ban is shaping how and where OB-GYN residents train and ultimately practice. As medical leaders navigate these restrictions, they are also contemplating what the long-term effects could be on patient care in a state already short on health care providers."
Read more by Jamie McGee - Tennessee Lookout - June 24, 2023.
Earth is ‘really quite sick now’ and in danger zone in nearly all ecological ways, study says. "Earth has pushed past seven out of eight scientifically established safety limits and into “the danger zone,” not just for an overheating planet that’s losing its natural areas, but for the well-being of people living on it, according to a new study. The study looks not just at guardrails for the planetary ecosystem but for the first time it includes measures of “justice,” which is mostly about preventing harm for countries, ethnicities and genders."
Read more by Seth Borenstein - Associated Press - May 31, 2023.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of $12 Million Through Investing in America Agenda for Brownfields Job Training Grants. "The Brownfields Job Training (JT) Grants allow nonprofits, local governments, and other organizations to recruit, train, and place unemployed and under-employed residents of areas affected by the presence of brownfield sites." EPA is seeking applications for the program now through August 2, 2023 via grants.gov. Learn more about the Brownfields Job Training Program
Brownfields are land areas that were formerly used for industrial or commercial purposes, often resulting in environmental contamination that affects future usage. As a result, they are often abandoned or underutilized until proper cleanup occurs. Pictured is an example of an abandoned pier and property in Salmon Bay, Seattle, June 2020. Photo credit: Joe Mabel / CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.
Statewide environmental events listed chronologically.
Do you have an event you'd like publicized?
Send it to Enews.email@example.com.
Thurs. June 29th - Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG): Fundamentals & Opportunities. Learn about the rapidly expanding world of ESG. Lipscomb University Institute for Sustainable Practice presents this panel and lunch at 11:30 am. Attendance is free with registration. Register here.
Tues. July 4th is Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress announced separation from Great Britain by unanimously adopting the Declaration of Independence. Independence Day became a federal holiday in 1870.
Fri. July 7th - Tennessee Women in Green (TWIG) Monthly Program with SeTara DeThrow. SeTara DeThrow is owner of The Rising Lotus Coaching Services, and Director of Pedagogy for a local nonprofit. She is passionate about eradicating food deserts and teaching people to use food technology and innovation to address food insecurities and foster sustainability. Event will be Fri., July 7, with informal networking from 7:30 - 8:00 am CT and the speaking program from 8:00 - 9:00 am. Register here.
Three Easy Fundraising Hacks for Your Group
By Mac Post
The Tennessee Chapter has 4 Groups: Chickasaw (Memphis area), Middle Tennessee (Nashville area), Cherokee (Chattanooga area), and Harvey Broome Group (Knoxville area) that do amazing work at a very local scale. They need funding to be an effective voice for Tennessee’s environment. Fortunately, the Sierra Club has given us some tools to raise funds easily. These are:
On each Group’s webpage, there is a red DONATE button at the top right of the page. This directs you to a secure webpage where donations are deposited directly into the Group’s bank account. Access the appropriate link here: Chickasaw, Middle TN,
Harvey Broome, or
On the same Group webpage there is a red JOIN button. If a new member clicks on the JOIN button in the upper right corner of the Group’s webpage and signs up for a $39 membership, the Group gets a commission of $39 back! So encourage people to join through our Chapter webpage rather than using the National Sierra Club website, phone, or mail.
Know someone that would enjoy being a Sierra Club member? Surprise them with a gift membership! If you use the following link for gift memberships to new members, your Group will get the commissions. To find the Gift Membership link for your group go to the link on the Chapter’s website here.
Please help your Group by using these convenient methods of donating. Donations through the above links are not tax deductible as they support our effective, citizen-based advocacy and lobbying efforts.
Dear Eartha: Advice from an Eco-Guru
Editor's Note: Eartha is taking a hiatus this month. In the meantime, send her some questions to investigate or ruminate! Submit your questions and comments to the Sierra E-News Editor [Enews.firstname.lastname@example.org]. Stay tuned to see what topic she will cover next time! Dear Eartha is penned by Rita Bullinger.
This month's featured species is: (Hibiscus coccineus)
Hibiscus coccineus is native to the Southeastern United States. There are over 200 species of hibiscus. About 31 are native to the U.S.
Part of the Mallow family, it is also known as Rose Mallow, Scarlet Rose Mallow, Swamp Mallow, or Swamp Hibiscus.
H. coccineus has striking red blooms and grows tall, from 5-8 feet. It is valued for its long blooming period, from July to September. There is a white form as well, known by names such as White Texas Star.
An herbaceous perennial, H. coccineus prefers moist sites but does not require it. It appreciates full sun. H. coccineus is not an edible hibiscus; an edible option is Hibiscussabdariffa.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sierra Club.
Tennes-Sierran Paperless Delivery: Are you a Sierra member who has been receiving our bi-monthly print publication, the Tennes-Sierran? You can opt out of getting a paper copy of the newspaper and instead receive it digitally. To request paperless delivery, open this form to make your request.
We are the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, the world’s oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization. With over 3.8 million members and supporters, the Sierra Club has the resources to empower people and to influence public policy through community activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation.
Our mission is to Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet.
Thank you for supporting Sierra Club Tennessee Chapter!