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Tennessee Clean
Water Network

123A S. Gay St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

Office: 865.522.7007
Fax: 865.525.4988

Author Archive

Stormwater enforcement ramps up

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

The Stormwater Quarterly, published by the National Stormwater Center, talks candidly about stormwater enforcement. Recently, EPA lowered the boom on four large construction companies for polluting water. EPA is now under court order to establish national standards for the construction industry.

TCWN believes that if someone has to get a permit to pollute, he/she must monitor the water they are discharging into and keep their facilities clean. Up to this point, developers have never had to monitor their sites, take water samples or otherwise keep from polluting. Unlike, other industries that must submit daily monitoring reports, detail any violations and notify the state of the violations and how they plan to fix them.

Finally, the playing field will be level for all of industry.

For more details, The Stormwater Quarterly Spring issue .


TCWN attends River Action Day in DC

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008


Last week while in DC, I and about 10 other organizations met with the EPA to talk about the fallout from Rapanos, the new wetlands mitigation rule, TMDLs, and nutrient standards. The experience was largely typical. They talked about what they were doing and answered questions vaguely. They received many 1,000s of comments on the Rapanos Guidance. On the wetlands mitigation rule they are emphasizing avoidance and minimization for development within wetlands. We didn’t get much traction on the nutrient issue. EPA was supposed to come out with a standard years ago. They continue to put it off.

The next day was spent visiting with the Tennessee Congressional Delegation. Most visits were pleasant and many responses were typical. I was very happy to be accompanied by Lee and Carter Patton. They were invaluable help and had the necessary passion to sustain us through a very long day. Our primary focus was the 40th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, global warming regulation and the Sewage Right to Know Act. On the Tennessee side, we discussed the Mercury Reduction Act and suggested four river segments in the Smokies to be designated Wild & Scenic Rivers.

We met with Congressman Zack Wamp who seemed interested in our views on the Mercury legislation, supportive of the Sewage Right to Know Act. He was the only congressman to meet with us that day.

We had one very exciting meeting with a staffer. For grins, take our little quiz and guess which congresswoman he works for.

1. When asked what he thinks about global warming his response was:

  1. With $5M we can solve all the infrastrure problems in third world countries
  2. 2008 was the coolest year on record. (he might have meant "hip", but we didn’t bother to ask)
  3. It’s cheaper to fix other countries than to regulate green house gases.

Answer: All of the above.

2. When asked what accomplishment was he most proud of he answered:

  1. The congresswoman’s commitment to the environment
  2. The congresswoman’s commitment to the oil industry
  3. I can’t answer that.

Answer: #3

3. When asked, "OK, what is the accomplishment in Tennessee he is most proud of?" he answered:

  1. Oh, that’s easy, the congresswoman’s commitment to Tennessee’s environment
  2. The congresswoman’s commitment to Tennessee’s oil industry
  3. That question is too broad. I can’t answer it.

Answer: #3

If you know which congresswoman we speak of, email me at [email protected] and if you’re correct, I’ll send you 10 TCWN Holiday cards! It’s never too early for Christmas.

We went on to have several wonderful conversations with the staffers of Senators Corker and Alexander and Congressmen Cooper, both Davis’, and Gordon. They all understand the dire straits we are in due to climate change and though they did not offer solutions to these problems, they did understand the need for swift action to curb the effects of a globe gone wild.

That evening American Rivers hosted a gala celebration for the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act’s 40 Anniversary. We only have one river on the W&S list - the Obed River. There were many notables at the event: Bruce Babbit, Will Skerrit and Micheal Keaton (yes, Batman).

I had a great time and thank American Rivers for making it happen. They have a River Action Day every year. We post it on our enews. Every time I participate in River Action Day I’m reminded how much our congressional delegation needs to hear from us that preserving water quality is important.


Marshall County Landfill - Dead

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Hey everyone!

Here is a great example of a community working together to defeat a landfill. 1,000 people protested by attending a county commission meeting wearing green shirts that said "Stop the Landfill", the created a motorcade over a mile long to lead everyone to the meeting and used lawn signs to express their dismay at the potential.

TCWN’s Elizabeth Murphy has been working with the community and they won. The Marshall County landfill is dead. Congratulations!!

Rep. Joe McCord attempts to humiliate the Executive Director of TCWN

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Here is what happens when you take a stand for clean water and fight to keep developers from being allowed to pave, culvert and bury streams at the state Legislature.

On April 9, the Stop Work Order bill was up in the House Environment Committee for a vote. During discussion, Rep. McCord asked me to come up and speak on it. Once he got me up there, he turned the subject to the limited resources bill that we worked so hard to kill. I tried to turn his attention back to the Stop Work Order, but he would have none of it.

A couple of notes. Rep. McCord suggests that I am only in this for money. I had a conversation with Rep. Nicely at the beginning of the session. Rep. Nicely told me that because I get paid to do the work I do, it’s not worthy. When I countered that the Farm Bureau lobbyist gets paid to represent farmers, a group he claims to support, he told me that I make more money than she does and therefore what I do is not worthy. I don’t think Rep. McCord thought up the money comment on his own.

I do believe that Rep. McCord got the message.


Seymour High School Earth Day Clean Up of Dudley Creek

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

I spent Earth Day with Science Clubbers from Seymour High School. They wanted to do some service learning on Earth Day and approached the network about a river clean up. With generous support from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, we were able to use a Clean Streams Grant to get the students out into the creek. We teamed up with the National Park Service who helped us find a location and organized all the gear necessary gear: gloves, vests, bags, truck for hauling off the trash. The High School provided lunch. The kids picked up enough trash to fill a NPS truck.

We had 66 students participate and they pulled out a lot of trash!

Sadly, not everyone thought the efforts of all these students were admirable. The Seymour Herald carried a story and the blog comments were quite unkind. The kids rallied and you can hear what they had to say for themselves and all the work they did. These kids are really committed to taking care of the environment and I am proud to have spent the day with them.

Click here to see their comments.