News release from Tennessee Conservation Voters:
Nashville, TN – Tennessee Conservation Voters (TCV), a non-partisan conservation organization committed to voter education, advocacy and holding elected officials accountable for safeguarding Tennessee’s environment, announced today the launch of a statewide television ad campaign focused on the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining.
The ad supports a broad-based effort to pass the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act, a bill that would only ban the process of mountaintop removal mining on peaks above 2000 feet in Tennessee.
The 30-second ad opens by describing the connection Tennesseans have with the mountains – hunting, fishing, hiking and embracing God’s creation. This reflects the broad range of support that exists statewide for the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act and speaks to the non-partisan nature of the issue. The ad also describes how more than 500 mountains, 2000 miles of streams and tens of thousands of mining jobs have already been destroyed across Appalachia by mountaintop removal mining. The ad closes by asking viewers to support the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act and encourages them to call Governor Bill Haslam. The ad is designed to be modified to direct contacts to various TN policy makers throughout the campaign.
Mountaintop removal coal mining is not a partisan issue, it’s a people issue.” said Mary Helen Clarke, Board President of Tennessee Conservation Voters. “The goal of our campaign is to educate Tennesseans and our elected representatives on the negative health and economic impacts caused by mountaintop removal mining. From increased rates of cancer, heart disease and birth defects to costing Tennessee tax payers millions each year, mountaintop removal mining comes with extraordinary costs. Right and wrong don’t always divide across party lines, neither should blowing up Tennessean’s mountains.”
The Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act is not an anti-coal campaign. The bill narrowly applies to the method of coal mining above 2,000 feet and only limits mining high-elevation coal by one method, that is, mountaintop removal. All other methods of coal extraction would be unaffected by this legislation.
The 30-second television spot will begin airing in markets statewide starting Tuesday February 21.
Facts About Mining in Tennessee
Tennessee produces less than 0.1 percent of America’s coal. Tennessee coal is high in sulfur content and contained in narrow seams, which makes it more expensive and less desirable to utilities. TVA purchases less than 1 percent of its coal from Tennessee. In 2009, considering all revenues and expenses, the coal industry presented a loss of approximately $3 million to the state budget. Since 1985, the mining industry has eliminated 85 percent of its own workforce.
About Tennessee Conservations Voters
Tennessee Conservation Voters (TCV) is a statewide coalition of 24 organizations dedicated to preserving Tennessee’s rich natural heritage. TCV is a non-partisan conservation organization committed to raising voter awareness, advocating effective laws and holding elected officials accountable for protecting our environment. Over the past five years, TCV and its member organizations have advocated for the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act, SB 577, a bill that would end the destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR) on peaks above 2000 feet elevation. For more information visit www.tnconservationvoters.org.