Tennessee State Chapter
Tennessee Chapter Office:
3340 Perimeter Hill Dr
Nashville, TN  37211

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March-April 2011

January-February 2011

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Every year the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club has a presence at the state legislature. Not only do we have a lobbyist, but we have numerous volunteers who help talk with legislators and go to hearings and committee meetings. All volunteers are welcome to participate in this process. If you want to be on our alert list for notices throughout the legislative session on bills of importance, please contact us.

This year we will participate with the Tennessee Environmental Council in its Lobby Day, Conservation Education Day on February 19. The Sierra Club will have a table and will organize groups to speak with legislators about our priority bills. Keep an eye out for further announcements about our Lobby Day.

Please look at the recommendations below for conduct at the legislature before talking with legislators. We will have hand outs or fact sheets on the priority bills.

For 2014, our Legislative Priorities are:

Renewable Energy

Support for Resolution supporting citizens’ rights to generate solar energy and urging TVA and local power companies to strengthen their solar program and to lessen the burden on grid interconnections

Mountaintop Removal

Support Scenic Vistas Act –SB1925/HB1844 - Support our allies’ (Appalachian Voices) bill to restrict mountaintop removal by requiring TDEC to deny water permit for surface mining operations at elevations over 1800 feet.

Oppose - SB1883//HB1832 that directs TDEC (TN. Dept of Environment & Conservation) to study and report on what steps would be required to take away primacy from federal Office of Surface Mining for Tn. Suface mine permits under SMCRA to turn over to TDEC the duties and responsibilities of overseeing surface coal mining program in Tennessee. We are adamantly opposed because TDEC does such a poor job on coal mining water permits and enforcement, the state can’t afford to take on this program and we will lose federal NEPA applicability we now have for surface mines.

GMO Food & Seed Labeling

Support already introduced bill by Republican Senator Nicely requiring labeling for GMO food SB1878 & HB1169/SB0089

Gas Fracking

Support for bill prohibiting “fracturing” in Tennessee - SB 2064 by *Finney ( HB 2124 by *Pitts) - “Fracturing” means the process of pumpingfluids, gas or other substances with or without a proppant down a well under pressure expressly designed to initiate and propagate fractures or fracture networks in the target producing formation to facilitate oil or gas extraction. This bill prohibits all “fracturing” in the state.

Solid Waste

Support SB1383/HB1335. Sen. Southerland and Rep. Gilmore - TDEC's Division of Solid Waste (TDEC-DSW) has employed a private contractor to develop the first new statewide solid waste plan since 1991. As much as half of the funds under this contract are to be spent on statewide public hearings for citizen input on the new Plan. The new plan should address the diversion and reuse of recyclable materials and inputs for other industries. The bill clarifies the existing solid waste law to require that future regional plans must be consistent with the new plan and compliance with the goals of the existing Solid Waste Act.

Administrative Procedure/Third Party Appeals in Air,Toxics and Solid Waste

SB1640/HB1436 We’ve spent quite a bit of time analyzing a Haslam administration bill changing the way third party appeals are done in air, toxics and solid waste. The bill does some good things - and some not so good. We are in discussion with TDEC re ways to improve the bill.

Feel free to contact the Tennessee Chapter Legislative Committee:
Members are:
Mary Mastin: Chair (marymastin@twlakes.net)
Penny Brooks (penny.h.brooks@vanderbilt.edu)
Gary Bowers (gb1nature@aol.com)
Mike Murphy (mmurphy@tals.org)
Brian Paddock (bpaddock@twlakes.net)
Gloria Griffith (mailto:gla4797@embarqmail.com)
Keith Romig (krsp@aol.com)
Keven Routon (kwratcs@me.com)
David Bordenkircher(dabordenkircher@mindspring.com)
Scott Banbury (smbanbury@gmail.com)
Axel Ringe (onyxfarm@BELLSOUTH.NET)

Suggested rules of etiquette for contacting your state legislator:

1. Personal visits, letters, phone calls, emails are all ways to contact your legislator in order of preference. If you live far away from Nashville and cannot make a personal visit, please write or call.

2. If you call, you may be asked whether you are a constituent (it is better if you are, but OK if you are not). Be sure to know the bill number you are calling about, e.g., HB 0000 or SB0000, depending on whether your legislator is in the State Senate or the House.

3. You may be asked to give your reasons for supporting or opposing a bill. Whoever answers the phone will not be interested in a long-winded explanation. Be prepared and keep it simple.

4. Keep your facts accurate. Do not rely on hearsay or emotion or opinion based on personal preference. Use facts and reason.

5. Be respectful. Address and refer to the legislator as Senator Blank or Representative Blank or just “Senator” or “Representative” unless you are personal friends.

6. Always be courteous, even if you are feeling strongly on the inside. Keep your emotions and angry language in check. You gain nothing by being insulting, except perhaps a permanent enemy.

The personal visit:

1. Establish a personal relationship if possible. Relationships are extremely important in the legislature and your legislator needs to know whether he/she can trust you.

2. Be sure to let him/her know if you are a constituent. Thank him/her for past good votes and honors received from organizations that you value.

3. Make an appointment ahead of time if possible. If you drop in, there is no guarantee you will get to see him/her. Do not hesitate to meet with staffers if the legislator is unavailable. Secretaries and interns are also deserving of your friendly greetings and inquiries.

4. Keep your visit short and low key, no threats, harsh language, insults about anyone. Just the facts and reason.

5. Come with an information sheet. They keep these and look at them. Phone numbers and references to information sources can be included.

6. Quell your cell.

7. Dress neatly and professionally.

8. No matter what they say, thank them for the opportunity to meet with them.

New Footprints T-shirt!

The quotation on the t-shirt says:
"The human spirit needs
places where nature
has not been rearranged
by the hand of man.

Unknown Author"

The t-shirt is gray with a black and white design.

State Chapter Meetings:

  • Winter: January 28-30, 2011, Cedars of Lebanon State Park, hosted by Watauga Group, Chair: Gloria Griffith, gla4797 @ embarqmail.com.
  • Spring: April 15-17, 2011, at Natchez Trace State Park, hosted by Chickasaw Group, Chair: Nancy Brannon, nthechair @ gmail.com.
  • Summer 2011:TBA, Cherokee Group.
  • Fall 2011: TBA, Harvey Broome Group.
  • Winter: January 20-22, 2012, Cedars of Lebanon State Park, hosted by the Middle Tennessee Group, Chair: David Bordenkircher, dabordenkircher @ mindspring.com.

Last updated on March 18, 2011 , Webmaster