Tennessee state legislators want to reverse a decision made almost 30 years ago.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that two new measures in the General Assembly would take the duties of coal-mine permitting and follow-up operations inspections away from the federal Office of Surface Mining and turn them over to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
State Representative Joe Carr and the Tennessee Mining Association have instigated the new legislation. The TMA represents the coal industry in the state, and complains that the Office of Surface Mining takes up to four years to process permit applications. Carr says the 1984 decision was an “attack on coal”.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says he’s aware of the legislation and he wants to hear more about how much the move would cost state government. Officials with TDEC say the agency is evaluating the issue and isn’t yet taking a position.