(February 29, 2012, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ramsey (R-Blountville) today praised action taken in the Senate Energy and Environment Committee to protect the beauty and integrity of Tennessee’s mountains while ensuring continued economic growth in the energy sector.
As amended by Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville), Senate Bill 577 outlaws mountaintop mining in Tennessee. The measure codifies the current regulatory practices that prohibit mountaintop mining in Tennessee.
“After years of controversy on this issue, I believe we have finally reached a point that all honest stakeholders in this process can be proud of,” said Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey. “The language adopted today would remove all doubt and make clear that mountaintop mining will not be allowed in Tennessee.”
Senate Bill 577 as amended adopts the United States Department of Interior’s definition of mountaintop removal mining. This ensures that Tennessee’s treasured mountains are protected from practices which could damage our environment or the state’s tourism industry.
“I have always rejected this false choice between economic growth and responsible conservation. My goal as Lt. Governor has always been to make Tennessee the best state in which to own and operate a business. We continue to take steps that will bring and keep high quality jobs to Tennessee,” Ramsey continued. “At the same time, we need to respect and protect the majesty of our hills, mountains, streams and rivers. With this amendment, this bill will do that.”
The bill passed out of committee by a vote of 8 to 1 and will next appear on the floor for a vote by the full Senate.