Archive for the ‘Conservation and Environment’ Category

Kudzu’s Saving Grace?

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Finally, a potential use for kudzu:

“Everybody knows that you can make ethanol from corn and soy bean,” says Mizell. “What most people don’t know is that you can make ethanol from anything green.

“So, instead of fuel and feed, Agro*Gas is putting their energy into converting what is readily available and cheap! Kudzu is an obvious resource.

Mizell goes on to predict, “It may not get back to a dollar fifty, but I bet you if we do this right, we can be buying fuel at 2 dollars a gallon.” If it can be done without getting bureaucrats involved, I’m all for it.

Mountaintop Removal Bill Dies

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

This is a real shame. Jeff Woods puts it in perspective:

With a coal company essentially promising to mine by blowing off the tops of Tennessee mountains, lawmakers inexplicably refused to act and all but guaranteed great swaths of ecologically important woodlands will be laid to waste.

The National Coal Corp. threatened to shut down in Tennessee if mountaintop mining were banned. So to save 234 jobs, the sum total of the company’s workforce, lawmakers decided to sacrifice the natural beauty that underpins a gazillion-dollar tourism industry.

There is some hope for next year, but tragedy looms if the legislature doesn’t act soon:

Environmentalists say they’ll present their bill again next year, and the governor has indicated he might help this time. There’s a sense of urgency. Mountaintop mining is about to become more familiar to Tennessee. National Coal sold its operations in Kentucky this year to focus on mining in this state. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal-fired power plants are about to be fitted with newer pollution scrubbers, making this state’s high-sulfur, dirty-burning coal more marketable, according to Barger.

Via ACK (cross posted at Hillbilly Savants)

From the Ashes it Rose

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

An effort to ban mountaintop removal looked dead in the water less than two weeks ago. But now it has been revived:

A Senate committee today approved a bill to put new restrictions on surface coal mining in East Tennessee, even though a House subcommittee had killed the measure earlier.

Sponsor Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville, said he now expects an effort to have the House Environment Subcommittee hold a special meeting and consider reversing its earlier vote to kill the bill.

The measure passed the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee today by a vote of 8-1. The lone no vote was my state senator, Tommy Kilby, who continues to be a major disappointment but who is happily not seeking reelection. Senator Finney deserves a lot of credit for keeping this effort alive.

Mountain Removal Bill Dies

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

This is disappointing:

The bill, called the Tennessee Scenic Vistas Protection Act, was the focus of a spirited campaign by a fledgling group of church-going environmentalists, who joined other environmental groups in a bid to end mountaintop mining in East Tennessee.

Apparently my own state senator, Tommy Kilby, played a role in killing the Senate version.

I’m not anti-mining; I know how much we need coal. But I do think there are better ways to get it than blowing up mountains. I can only hope that a similar bill will be brought back in the next session.

Ban Mountaintop Removal

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

It may surprise some of you, but I fully support this effort:

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville, and Rep. Mike McDonald, D-Portland, would prohibit mountaintop removal coal mining, is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in the Senate Environment and Conservation Committee.

A vote on the bill has been delayed for another week, notes Michael Silence. I hope it passes. Mountaintop removal, or strip mining as it’s sometimes called, is devastating. It ruins the environment without providing much in the way of economic development. Anyone who doubts this should visit Eastern Kentucky.