News | March 4, 2011

Tennesseeans urged to attend public hearings on plans to protect Cumberland ridgetops

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining has scheduled three public meetings in March to discuss a proposal to protect roughly 67,000 acres of publicly owned ridgetops in the Cumberland Plateau from the ravages of surface coal mining.

The agency wants to hear from citizens what they think should be included in its environmental study of the issue, which stems from Tennessee's petition to declare the areas as unsuitable for surface coal mining.

These “scoping meetings” will define the scope of the Environmental Impact Study the agency is preparing in response to a recent petition by Tennessee that OSM designate certain ridgetops as unsuitable for surface coal mining under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. OSM has identified three broad alternatives: designate all, none, or some of those lands as unsuitable.

SELC and our partners strongly urge the agency to designate all of the land in Tennessee's petition as off-limits for mining.

Click here for a fact sheet.

The hearings are scheduled for:

  • March 8, 6:30 p.m (EDT): Huntsville Middle School, 3101 Baker Highway, Huntsville.
  • March 10, 6:30 p.m (EDT).: LaFollette Middle School, 1309 East Central Avenue, LaFollette.
  • March 15, 6:30 p.m. (EDT): Oak Ridge High School, 1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge

Also, written comments must be submitted by 5 p.m. April 14.

E-mail: tnlum – at –

Mailed or Hand-delivered to: Office of Surface Mining, Field Office Director Attn: Earl D. Bandy Jr. John J. Duncan Federal Building 710 Locust Street, Second Floor Knoxville, Tennessee 37902

Click here for Tennessee's petition