Tag Archives: Leaf

LEAF Disappointed in Senate Amendment to Coal Mining Bill

Statement to media from Lindquist Environmental Appalachian Fellowship:
LEAF is very disappointed with SB 577 as amended by the Senate Energy and Environment committee on Feb. 29, 2012.
The sponsor, Mike Bell and the Lt. Governor both say the amended bill simply codifies current practice. Current practice includes blasting off Tennessee’s ridgelines. For five years, citizens of this state have asked the legislature just to put a buffer zone around the highest elevation ridgelines. Now they have passed a bill which they admit does not change the status quo and call that a “point all honest stakeholders can be proud of.” The bill was not discussed or shared in advance of the committee meeting with any stakeholder other than industry. Industry does seem to be proud of the bill as now written.
As to the substance of the bill:
LEAF must take exception with the claim that SB 577, as amended by the Bell Amendment #0137872, is a ban on mountaintop removal.
LEAF’s request to stop mountaintop removal, is not a shell game or semantics. We mean, do not let coal companies blow the top off mountains to get the coal out. LEAF is not working for a bill like the current amendment that relates to what happens after the mountain is blown up. We are concerned with the only time that matters for Tennessee’s virgin mountains, before the permit is issued.
The bill voted out of committee repeats federal law on what coal companies do with “overburden,” a sad industry pseudonym for the little pieces the mountain becomes after it has been blasted apart. LEAF is not working for a bill about where to put the little pieces. LEAF seeks and will continue to seek protection of the natural ridgelines.
The bill, as amended, says that there is no mountaintop removal so long as the coal industry molds the rubble into the “Approximate Original Contour.” The Northern Cumberland Plateau is not known for “Approximate Original Mountains.” It is known for some of the oldest and most beautiful mountains on this earth, molded not by engineers and bulldozers, but by the hands of God himself.
If a state has no mountaintop removal, it has no need to reaffirm federal law regarding molding rubble. On the floor, LEAF calls on the Senate to redeem this weak deception by voting for the bill as proposed by the sponsor, the bill that requires the coal companies to leave the original ridgelines on Tennessee’s mountains.
Dawn Coppock
Legislative Director, LEAF

Lamar’s New Leaf

News release from Sen. Alexander’s office:
ALCOA, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today took delivery of the Nissan LEAF he is leasing from Alcoa’s Twin City Nissan, saying, “Plugging in my new LEAF will give me the patriotic pleasure of not sending money overseas to people who are trying to blow us up.”
Alexander said, “The Nissan LEAF is easy to drive, it’s cheaper to drive – and it will be made in Tennessee. If enough Americans bought electric cars and trucks, that would be the single best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil – and the best way to avoid $4-a-gallon gas.” The LEAF will be produced in Smyrna.
Alexander visited the dealership this morning where he signed the lease on his new 2011 LEAF, which he is paying for personally. Alexander said he would not accept the state and federal tax credits available to those who purchase all-electric vehicles.
For the past two years, Alexander has driven a Toyota Prius that he converted into a plug-in electric vehicle, which he charged at home by plugging it in at night.
Alexander was the lead Republican cosponsor last Congress of S. 3495, the “Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010,” which aimed to speed up the introduction of electric cars and trucks throughout the country in an effort to reduce American dependence on foreign sources of oil and help clean the air. Of the bill, Alexander said, “Republicans and Democrats agree that electrifying our cars and trucks is the single best way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Our goal should be to electrify half our cars and trucks within 20 years, which could reduce our dependence on oil by about a third, from about 20 million to about 13 million barrels a day. According to a Brookings Institution study, we could do this without building one new power plant, if we plugged our cars in at night when the country has huge amounts of unused electricity.”
The legislation passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on July 22, 2010, by a bipartisan vote of 19-4. Alexander is currently working on new electric-vehicle legislation to introduce during the 112th Congress.