Here is your Legislative Update and Action Alert from Tennessee Conservation Voters

Legislative Update and Action Alert 3/22 /2017
Good News and Bad News!

It is a rare week that warrants more than one Legislative Update and Action Alert. This is one of those weeks. A couple weeks ago, we wrote about caption bills and how amendments can make or break a bill. This week, several bills were amended that we feel the need to bring up.



But first, the good news!

Forever Green Tennessee!

Representatives McDaniel, Sargent and McCormick and Senator Ketron are sponsoring a  $35 million budget amendment to  Forever Green Tennessee by adding funding to conserve farmland, historic sites, and forests along our waters. Budget funds in Tennessee are extremely competitive, so we need all hands on deck if we want to succeed!

Why?

Currently, Tennessee has about 6.6 million residents. This number is expected to balloon to more than 9 million by 2050.

Each additional person puts added strain on Tennessee's water, woods, and wildlife. Meanwhile, aging landowners and urban sprawl are threatening to fragment and destroy forests necessary for clean and abundant water, as well as historic assets and farms. We must act now to preserve our state's character and beauty!

This is not just the right thing to do for our outdoors, it is the right thing to do for our economy. The cheapest way to purify drinking water for future Tennesseans is to help prevent it from becoming contaminated at the source. Outdoor recreation is a major economic force in the state and tourism at historic sights is a major driver of dollars to rural Tennessee.

Coal Mining Legislation Update

SB686/HB571 by Yager and Powers was added to the House Agriculture Subcommittee late by a suspension of the rules. It began the session as a bill simply to study issues related to mining but was amended at the last second to bring Coal Mining Primacy back to Tennessee!

This bill is a waste of Tennessee taxpayer's money. Funds generated from coal mining do not come close to covering the cost of regulating coal mining. Per the bill's own fiscal note, we will be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the privilege of regulating something that the federal government does for free!

If that wasn't enough, coal mining is also on the decline. If revenue from coal can't cover the cost right now, then it certainly won't as profits from coal mining disappear. 

Let the Senate Energy and the House Agriculture committees know that this a bad use of taxpayer resources!

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

SB899/HB1017 by Bell and Hawk began the session as a bill to change conference scheduling regarding violations of the Water Quality Control Act. Now it seeks to abolish TDEC's ability to regulate Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. This is a disastrous bill. It is up in the Senate Energy and House Agriculture committees.
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