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Archive for March, 2009

EPA concurs, two worst water bills violate Clean Water Act!

Monday, March 30th, 2009
There are many bad water bills floating around the Tennessee Legislature this year, but two of them have stood out as REALLY bad.  SB632/HB1615 and SB633/HB1617 are attempting to change our state’s definition of what is a stream. 

SB632/HB1615 is an attempt to narrow the types of waterbodies protected under our laws.  Since the changes are based upon removing the use classification of a stream, EPA approval is always required. SB633/HB1617 creates a new definition of “limited resource waters” in another attempt to restrict the types of waterbodies protected under our laws.  These bills would especially lift protection from our smaller streams during times of drought, when we need water protection the most.  Both bills also take these re-defined waters out of our public trust, therefore opening them up for pollution.

 The US EPA reviewed these bills and said “Should this legislation pass, it may result in federal action related to TDEC’s federally delegated water programs.”  Passing this legislation could result in direct federal oversight of our state programs, or worse the removal of our delegated authority to protect our waters.  The US EPA also notes these bills result in definitions which would not be consistent with the Clean Water Act. 

On top of all of this, the state could lose up to $2 million in federal funding as a result of this legislation while costing us an additional $1 million in our own expenditures. 

These bills are not only destructive to our water resources, but clearly violate federal standards to protect our waters!

We need your help to stop these BAD water bills!

Friday, March 13th, 2009

We are fighting one of our biggest legislative battles ever in an effort to protect Tennessee’s waters, and we need your help!  Two bills are up for discussion and a potential vote in the Senate Environmental Committe on Tuesday and the sponsor needs to hear from you about why these bills are so bad. 

SB632 and SB633 in short will lift protection from thousands of miles of smaller streams throughout the state.  These bills are an attempt to weaken our state’s water protection laws and are a huge threat to our water quality and quantity. 

Please call Senator Southerland and other members of the Senate Environmental Committee to oppose these dangerous bills.  Go to http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/committees/env-tourism.html for each member’s contact information and let them know you oppose SB632 and SB633 because they strip protection away from our waters – could destroy approximately 30,000 miles of streams in Tennessee - and are a critical threat to our neighborhood streams and smaller waterbodies. 

Call these members no later than Monday, and let’s defeat these bills!

Go to http://www.tcwn.org/news/2009bills.php to learn more about this legislation.

Watch the Legislature LIVE

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Did you know that you can watch the state legislature and all committee meetings live online?  Check out this link: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/livevideo/ for the live feed.  You can also visit the House or Senate Committee pages for archived videos and agendas for upcoming sessions.

Here are links to the House and Senate Environment Committees:

House Conservation and Environment Committee: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/house/committees/conserv-env.html

Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/senate/committees/env-tourism.html

We will be watching these committees live and posting comments on our Twitter site.