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Tennessee Clean
Water Network

123A S. Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Office: 865.522.7007
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Cumberland Trail State Park - Rock Harvesting Court Opinion

August 1st, 2008 by Renée Hoyos

Yesterday the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in our favor in the Cumberland Trail State Park rock “harvesting” case. In a strong, well-reasoned, and clear opinion, the Court stated that “general mineral reservations in a deed will not be construed so broadly as to include extraction methods that destroy the surface rights conveyed in the same deed. If a grantor wishes to retain the right to obtain minerals through destructive surface extraction, he must explicitly reserve that right within the deed; a general mineral reservation will not suffice.” This is the rule that we advanced in the amicus brief.

The Court went on to explain that the case-law, “as well as basic common sense and equity, compel the conclusion” that the mineral owner does not have the right to destroy the state’s surface rights by depriving the state of the reasonable use of its land by, for example, destroying the trees in the park. The opinion showed clear signs of our amicus brief’s influence.

The Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the trial court in Hamilton County for further proceedings consistent with the opinion. We will be working with our partner organizations through the appeal process.

This is a great outcome for our effort to keep the Cumberland Trail State Park free of rock harvesting and goes a long way towards establishing clear law on this issue in Tennessee for all land owners. Many thank got to the TCWN Board Chair Greg Buppert who co-wrote the Amicus brief with Sarah Franciso of Southern Environmental Law Center!

Read the attached document for the fine details.

State of Tennessee vs. Lahiere-Hill, LLC



2 Responses to “Cumberland Trail State Park - Rock Harvesting Court Opinion”

  1. t.paulus Says:

    Great news! Glad to hear it - keep up the great work.

  2. Nina Gregg Says:

    Great work on the rock mining case. This seems to me to be a hugely important ruling with implications for owners of surface rights everywhere.

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