March 2009sierra web logo
Upper Cumberland Group Newsletter

Sierra Scene,  Vol. 1
5, No. 3
In This Issue
Help us Fight Bad Water Bills
Tennessee Sierrans Display at Legislative Plaza
Save These Dates

March 16, 7 pm Putnam Co. Library Upstairs Meeting Room, SOCM Meeting

March 18 TEC/TCV Conservation Lobby Day

March 26 UCGroup Sierra Meeting 7 pm Putnam Co. Library Downstairs Meeting Room

April 8-23
April Showers Art Show Maddux Bldg Studio
April 17
Reception

April 25
Rain Barrel Festival 1-4 pm Dogwood Par
k


cool cities

Cool Cites Progress!  See my note opposite about TTU Honors students getting started on a greenhouse gas inventory this semester for the City of Cookeville by meeting with City Department Heads to begin the process for the gathering of relevant data.  Great Outdoors honors students Josh Donegan, Nick Holder, Ellen Bomar and Elizabeth Melton.  Thanks also to honors student Kassie Thomas, Honors prof Dr. Rita Barnes and to Gail Fowler, City of Cookeville Administrative Assistant for helping get this project off the ground
Conservation Lobby Day at
Legislative Plaza March 18, 2009


Sponsored by the Tennessee Environmental Council and Tennessee Conservation Voters.

We are asking everyone to
participate.
Follow these three simple steps:
1. Register by March 11.
2. Identify your legislator by going to
www.capitol.tn.gov
3. Call in advance (before March 18) to schedule a meeting with your legislator
.

Please register by March 11 by emailing tec@tectn.org or calling 248-6500!  For help or questions on Lobby Day, please call John McFadden (615-330-5364) or Claudia Schenck (615-336-5646).



Dear UC Sierrans, 

We have no program this month, but will instead use our regular meeting time to plan for the Rain Barrel Festival.  Many tasks need doing - so please come and volunteer.  It should be a lot of fun.  In addition to the Rain Barrel Festival to be held at Dogwood Park Saturday April 25, there will be an Art Show previewing the painted barrels April 8-23 at the Maddux Bldg. upstairs art gallery.  A reception with wine and finger foods is planned for Friday April 17.

There is an interesting program, though, this Monday, March 16 for the local SOCM chapter.   Dr. Ferdinand DiFurio of the Department of Economics, Finance and Marketing at TTU will speak on carbon
emissions.   7 pm at the Putnam Co. Library, upstairs meeting room.
 
Dr. DiFurio will provide a non-technical description of his recently published research on factors that affect the amount of CO2 released and what changes in state level policies might reduce Tennessee's emissions.

Dr. DiFurio says: "Every state within the U.S. experiences upward trends in carbon emission output through growth in state GDP and population. At the same time, states can do a number of things to offset this growth.  On March 16th, the results of a paper will be presented that breaks down the change in carbon emission output into five components.  The results will shed light on how states are doing in offsetting growth in carbon emissions.  In addition, a general discussion can then take place on the costs and benefits associated with policies designed to address carbon emissions and climate change."

UCG Sierra has a recently reinvigorated Cool Cities Project with some talented TTU Honors students having taken the first steps toward completing a greenhouse gas inventory for the City this semester.  The City is also looking at joining ICLEI in order to take advantage of the international organization's ghg software.  I've invited the TTU students to the SOCM meeting to hear this important and timely address by Dr. DiFurio.  So I hope some Sierrans will turn out too.  Let's let the students know how much we appreciate what they're doing.

Mary Mastin
Chair, Upper Cumberland Group
URGENT ACTION ITEM Legislators Introduce Bills to End Important Legal Protections for Clean Water in Tennessee.
 
A number of bad bills have been introduced and will soon be heard in the Senate Environment and House Conservation Committees.
Some examples, which may be heard in the next 2 or 3 weeks, are:

SB1112 (Overbey) / HB1622 (McCord) - This bill changes TN law to say that air and water quality rules not exceed the requirements of federal statutes.  It also forbids any permit from having requirements which are not the directly based on an existing rule. 
This bill prevents Tennessee from protecting its unique resources when the federal government doesn't.
This bill limits Tennesseans from making our own choices in stopping water pollution.
 
Redefining Water - Deleting Protection
SB0632 (Southerland) / HB1615 (McCord)
SB0633 (Southerland) / HB1617 (McCord)
Perhaps the most dangerous of all the water quality bills, these bills redefine wet weather conveyances and create a new class of waters called "limited resource waters." These bills strip protection from smaller streams and neighborhood creeks, allowing the destruction of these vital water sources. Fewer streams equals less water for us all to enjoy.

SB0632(Southerland)/HB1615(McCord) - 1) States "support" as used in the definition of wet weather conveyance means meeting the classification of fish and aquatic life even during low flow; 2) Excludes wet weather conveyances from "waters"; 3) Requires the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to develop a waters determination training; 4) Allows for stream determinations to be made by an expert outside of TDEC.
This bill is an attempt to narrow the types of waterbodies protected under our laws. Since the changes are based upon water flow, this would specifically lift protection from smaller streams during times of drought, when water protection is of the utmost importance.
Developing a stream determination process is a good idea and one TDEC is currently working on, but it must be based on existing rules.
TDEC, as the public agency, should be the final decision maker on stream determinations.

Our Senator Charlotte Burks sits on the Senate Environment committee.  Come lobby her with us on the Wednesday March 18
Conservation Lobby Day - or Contact her at:

Senator Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, District 15 - Cumberland, Jackson, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, and White Counties
Phone: (615) 741-3978
Email: sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov
Tennessee Sierrans Display Show On TVA Coal Ash Disaster at Legislative Plaza 

On Wednesday, February 18, Tennessee Sierrans displayed a slide show on the TVA Coal Ash disaster on a new 42 inch LCD display screen purchased by the Chapter as a part of a project from the Legislative committee of the TEC/TCV Sustainability Summit for use by different participating environmental organizations across the state in an effort to show that Tennesseans care about their environment.  Yours truly, along with Peggy Evans, manned the table most of the day.  Helping out also were Sierrans in the picture below from the left, Lynn Cimino-Hurt from Sewanee and Pam Patterson from Murfreesboro.

 Legislative Plaza Tabling

Many folks stopped to look at the slide show screen and the materials on the table.  Republican Senator Tim Burchett told us he was submitting a bill about coal ash.  The screen was very helpful as most displays in the halls were of the cardboard three-panel variety.   MTG member David Bordenkircher helped toward the end of the afternoon and helped us pack the screen for safekeeping.
This screen will be used on Tuesday by the Tennessee Clean Water Network and Wednesday by the Tennessee Environmental Council for the Conservation Lobby Day.  Other groups signed up to use the screen over the legislative session are the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation,  Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, and a local clean air group from East Tennessee, the Breathe Clean Air Task Force.

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This email was sent to dixon@cs.utk.edu by marymastin@twlakes.net.
Roaring River Chapter Save Our Cumberland Mountains | c/o 2861 Spring Creek Road | Cookeville | TN | 38501