March 13, 2002 - Inside this Issue!

1. ALERT - National Call-in Day to Stop Mountaintop Removal Mining and Oppose Waste Dumps in Waters Nationwide
2.  ANNOUNCEMENT - WORKSHOP SERIES - TDEC Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Workshop
3.  NOTICE - PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITY - TVA Reservoir Operations Study Public Meetings
4.  PUBLIC NOTICES - QUICK LIST FROM TDEC - Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit Applications
5.  NOTICE - PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITY - Cumberland Coal Company Expansion Public Meeting
6.  NEWS - FROM EPA- Proposed Regs. on Cooling Water Intake Structures
7.  HIGHLIGHT - PEER REPORT - Environmental Enforcement Plummets Under Bush
8.  HIGHLIGHT - NAFTA REPORT - Significant Biodiversity Loss Across North America
9.  RESOURCE - SAVE H2O & $$ - EPA Promotes Water Efficiency in the Home



The Bush administration is very close to finalizing a change to  Clean Water Act rules that would modify the Army Corps of Engineers'  definition of "fill" material to allow the Corps to permit wastes from  mountaintop removal coal mining to bury streams.  In mountaintop removal  coal mining, coal companies literally blast off the tops of mountains to  reach the seams of coal, then dump the millions of tons of waste generated into nearby streams and wetlands. In October 1999 a federal  court found that this practice violated the Clean Water Act and the  stream protection provisions of the federal surface mining law.  Now,  the Army Corps of Engineers and US EPA are trying to change the rules in  order to legalize this waste dumping.

To make matters even worse, the proposed rule change would also allow  hardrock mineral mining companies and all other kinds of industries to  dump their wastes into waters, too.  The result of this change in  regulations will be nationwide devastation of rivers, lakes, wetlands  and streams.

Between 9am and 4 pm EST, we are asking people to please call:
*  Christine Whitman, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency, 202-546-4700 and
*  James Connaughton, Chairman of the White House's Council on  Environmental Quality, 202-456-5147 -- to deliver the message: “Save our waters from fills made of wastes.”

For more information visit


SPREAD THE WORD!  Please send this message to your members,  volunteers, friends, and colleagues asking the to participate in the  nationwide event and send a reminder on the morning of March 20.

MAKE THESE 2 CALLS YOURSELF!  Two minutes can help save
waters you care about.

TALKING POINTS: Leave messages for Administrator Whitman and CEQ  Chairman Connaughton to tell them:
1.      Not to revise the definition of "fill material" under the Clean Water  Act in order to authorize the dumping of waste into our nation's  streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands.
2.      Do not attempt to legalize the illegal practice of mountaintop removal coal mining, which has already destroyed hundreds of miles of streams and kills all stream life.
3.      The Administration MUST reopen this policy change to public comment
and conduct an Environmental Impact Statement before deciding to
complete this rulemaking.

2. Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control Workshop Series

TDEC is holding several sessions of training for erosion prevention and sediment control across the state.  This is a foundation-building course intended for individuals involved in land-disturbing activities and will provide a working knowledge of erosion and sedimentation processes and practices. A certificate of completion will be provided to everyone who completes the course and 6 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) are available.

March 19 - Memphis
March 20 - Nashville
March 22 - Chattanooga
March 25 - Knoxville
May 21 - Jackson
May 22 - Cookeville
May 24 - Johnson City

If you have questions regarding registration, contact Gail Farris at (865) 974-4774 or email [email protected]   For course content questions, contact Tim Gangaware at (865) 974-2151 or  email [email protected]

3.  Upcoming Public Meetings on TVA Reservoir Operations Study

TVA has begun a comprehensive two-year study of its reservoir operations to examine the policies that guide flood control, navigation, water quality, and other aspects of river management. The purpose of the study is to determine if changes in TVA’s reservoir system operating policies would produce greater overall public value.

TVA will conduct the study in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The process and the results will be documented in an environmental impact statement.  Technical analyses, including assessments of natural resource conditions, flood risk, water quality, and economic impacts, will also be conducted as part of the study.

Public input is a key component of this effort. TVA will hold public meetings in spring 2002 to help identify issues to address and alternatives to consider in the study. Additional meetings will be held later in the process to gather public comments on the draft environmental impact statement.

Thursday, March 21: Walker County, GA; Tupelo, MS
Saturday, March 23:  Murphy, NC; Guntersville, AL
Tuesday, April 2:  Decatur, AL; Starkville, MS
Thursday, April 4:  Paris, TN; Nashville, TN; Memphis, TN
Saturday, April 6:  Morristown, TN; Muscle Shoals, AL
Tuesday, April 9: Knox County/Loudon County Area, TN; Chattanooga, TN
Thursday, April 11: Blountville, TN; Gilbertsville, KY
Saturday, April 13: Norris, TN; Savannah, TN
Tuesday, April 16:  Blairsville, GA; Bowling Green, KY
Thursday, April 18: Bryson City, NC; Tullahoma, TN

For more information about the study, or to provide your comments at any
time, please call TVA toll-free at 888-882-7675 or log onto
Meeting times and locations will be available through the toll-free
number and website after March 1 and will be advertised in your local
newspapers closer to the meeting dates.

4.  Public Notices Posted by Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation - Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit Applications

The applications described below have been submitted for Aquatic Resource Alteration Permits (ARAP) pursuant to The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act of 1977.

Permit Application: NRS #02-028
Applicant: Ronald Smith
Location: Unnamed tributary to South Fork Lick Creek, Williamson County
Description: The applicant proposes to impound 280' of the tributary to create a pond. The dam will be 105' in length and 18' high.  The pond will be filled with storm water run-off.

Permit Application: NRS #01-326
Applicant: Kevin and Michelle Clayton
Location: Unnamed tributary to Davis Branch, Blount County
Description: The applicant proposes to construct an impoundment by installing a water control structure in the existing culvert under the driveway.  The structure would be 0.75-acres in size with a maximum depth of 12 ft. The earthen clay day would be approximately 18 ft. high with 1.5:1 side slopes. The impoundment would be filled by capturing runoff during storm events.

Permit Application: NRS #01-285
Applicant: Ralph Shanks
Location: Northwest Surgoinsville, Sinking Creek Stream (tributary of the Holston River), Hawkins County
Description: The applicant proposes to impound a portion of Sinking Creek, a tributary of the Holston River, for purposes of providing domestic livestock water supply. The impoundment will cover approximately 0.6 acres and have a depth at the dam of 7.0 feet.

Permit Application: NRS #02-021
Applicant: Sequoyah Baptist Tabernacle
Location: Unnamed tributary of Tennessee River, Hamilton County
Permit Application: NRS #01-253
Applicant: Roger Gibson
Location: Unnamed tributary to Hoover Creek, Greene County
Description: The applicant proposes to construct a 0.4-acre impoundment by installing a water control structure in the existing culvert under his driveway. The earthen clay dam would be approximately 9 ft. high with 2:1 side slopes.  The impoundment would be filled by capturing runoff during storm events.

5. Public Hearing on Cumberland Coal Company Expansion

Public Hearing M2002-01
NOTICE IS HEREBY given that in response to public requests, the Division of Water Pollution Control, Mining Section, will hold the following public hearing, pursuant to Rule 1200-4-1-.05(3)(g) of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The hearing will be conducted at:

7:00 p.m., EST, March 26, 2002 - Cumberland County Courthouse
2 North Main Street, Crossville, Tennessee 38555

At the hearing, the Division will receive public comments concerning the
issuance of a National Discharge Pollutant Elimination System (NPDES)
permit to the following applicant:  Cumberland Coal Company, LLC, Turner
Mine 2      NPDES Permit TN0072842

This new underground coal mine and coal preparation plant, located at latitude 35°59’30", longitude 84°45’00", will discharge treated wastewater and storm water into Millstone Branch, Rogers Creek and Island Creek in Cumberland County. The Division advertised its tentative decision to issue this permit in Public Notice M2002-02, dated January 30, 2002.  Interested persons may obtain additional information, a copy of the draft permit, and inspect and copy forms at the Division’s office located at the above letterhead address. Please phone (865) 594-5538 or (888) 891-8332 to schedule an appointment for the review. A copy of the permit application, and draft permit will be available for  review at the hearing.

6. Reducing Harm to Aquatic Life - Proposed Regulations on Cooling Water Intake Structures

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman recently signed a proposed regulation that would reduce the number of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic life harmed or killed by the effects of withdrawing cooling water from rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, and oceans.  It would apply to certain existing power-producing facilities that use large amounts of water to cool power producing-machinery.

The proposed regulation would establish requirements based on the best technology available for minimizing the effects of cooling water withdrawals.  It would also allow for local decision making to determine how to minimize the effects of cooling water intakes if site-specific factors lead to costs that are either significantly greater than projected, or significantly greater than benefits at that site.

Under the proposed regulation, waterbodies that are more sensitive or that have more extensive aquatic resources will receive increased protection.  The proposed regulation also provides that facilities may use restoration measures in addition to, or in lieu of, direct controls on the cooling water intake to protect aquatic life.  By laying out several options in the proposal, the public is afforded the opportunity to comment on a broad range of potential scenarios for protection of fish, shellfish and other aquatic life.

For more information on this proposal, visit on EPA's web site.

7. PEER Report - Environmental Enforcement Plummets Under Bush

There has been a steep decline in environmental enforcement during President George W. Bush's first year in office, according to figures by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

PEER's analysis of the latest numbers shows cases referred by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for criminal prosecution dropped by a fifth (20 percent) overall during the 2001 fiscal year. The fall-off in EPA referrals was more significant in several of the agency's principal anti-pollution priority areas:
          *    Toxic Substance Control Act down 80 percent;
          *    Clean Air Act down 54 percent; and
          *    Clean Water Act down 53 percent.

This downturn reflects cases through September of 2001 and does not include effects of EPA staff reassignments announced last month. EPA stated that about 40 percent of its criminal enforcement staff would be moved to non-environmental security tasks.

"The faucet for environmental cases entering the prosecution pipeline is being cranked way down during President Bush's first year in office," commented PEER analyst Jessica V. Revere, who noted that criminal prosecution is generally reserved for the most severe pollution violations. "We can expect even greater declines in 2002 with the removal of nearly half of the criminal investigators and the new agency leadership's pledge to de-emphasize environmental enforcement."

The PEER analysis is based upon U.S. Department of Justice figures obtained and reviewed by the University of Syracuse's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

A complete copy of the PEER enforcement analysis of 2001 is available upon request and may be found on the PEER web site at:

PEER  is a national alliance of local state and federal resource professionals, working to protect the environment.

8. Significant Biodiversity Loss Across North America- NAFTA State of the Environment Report

At least 235 North American animal species are threatened by pollution,
human encroachment on their habitats, and aggressive harvesting practices,
according to a study by the North American Commission for Environmental
Cooperation, an agency created under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The North American continent faces a "biodiversity crisis" with half of the most biodiverse eco-regions severly degraded, as resources are being consumed faster than they are being replaced, the report said.

The North American Mosaic presents the first analysis of the overall state of the North American environment by the Montreal-based CEC. The CEC was established to build cooperation among the NAFTA partners—Canada, Mexico and the United States—in protecting shared environments, with a particular focus on the opportunities and challenges presented by continent-wide free trade.

A few highlights of the report:
-Natural disasters becoming more frequent, and more expensive
-Poor are hit hardest by environmental problems
-Habitat loss and bio-invasion (spread of non-native species) serious threats to biodiversity
-Transportation follows unsustainable trend
-Soil erosion on decline but threat of drought increasing
-North Americans fishing down the food chain
-Freshwater species more vulnerable to extinction
-Global warming induced rise in sea level would threaten Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, among other areas worldwide.

The North American Mosaic: A State of the Environment Report is available at:

9. Saving Water and $$ ... EPA Promotes Water Efficiency In The Home

EPA is promoting water efficiency in the home by offering on-line information on saving water and reducing utility costs. Water efficiencies in the home can be improved by detecting and fixing leaky faucets, installing high efficiency clothes washers and toilets, and watering the lawn and garden with the minimum amount of water needed.  Fixing a silent toilet leak may save as much as 500 gallons per day. Installing high efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances can help a typical family of four reduce indoor water use by one-third, save about $95 per year on its water and sewer bill, and cut energy use by as much as six percent.

Water efficiency continues to play an important role not only in protecting water sources and improving water quality, but also in reducing the amount of energy used to treat, pump and heat water -- currently about eight percent of U.S. energy demand. Water heating accounts for 19 percent of home energy use. If 20 percent of U.S. homes used high efficiency clothes washers, national energy savings could be 285 billion BTUs per day -- enough to supply the needs of over one million homes.

For more information on what you can do to improve water efficiency in your home visit: Water Saver Home at  Take a virtual tour of this Water Saver Home developed by the California Urban Water Conservation Council in partnership with EPA.

10.  Update on Spencer/Rumbling Falls Sewage Treatement Plant

An attempt by the town of Spencer to operate its new sewage plant — but not discharge effluent into a creek that runs into the Rumbling Falls Cave system — was refused yesterday.

Attorneys for the town had asked Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle to reword her Feb. 28 order so it would not stop the plant from operating but only prevent discharge to the creek.

 ''We can tinker with the language, but that seems unnecessary,'' Lyle told attorneys yesterday.

The state permit, which is under challenge in court, authorizes both the operation of the plant and its discharge into Dry Fork Creek, said a lawyer for the Tennessee Environmental Council, Nashville Grotto and other groups that are the plaintiffs.

The groups say the discharge would damage the cave system, which has many rare species. The cave, which is part of Fall Creek Falls State Park, includes one of the largest cave rooms in the country.

Tennessee Clean Water Network E-News

This newsletter is intended to provide a quick look at current clean water issues in Tennessee, in addition to resources available to the concerned citizen.

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