Miners Protest In Nashville

Eric Stewart

A large amount of members of the mining industry in Tennessee staged a protest against a bill pending in the General Assembly to ban mountaintop removal. The group of miners and engineers wore T-shirts and held up “Legalize Coal” signs at the entrance to the legislative office complex in Nashville on Tuesday. The bill (sponsored by Rep. Mike McDonald of Portland and fellow Democratic Sen. Eric Stewart of Winchester) would ban any mining that alters ridgelines more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Opponents argue that Tennessee doesn’t practice mountaintop removal mining, in which mountain ridge tops are blasted apart to expose multiple coal seams. The resulting rock and debris is dumped in streams, creating what the industry calls valley fills.