This pledge closed over 3 years ago
Here's our alert on the Tia
STOP THE TIACME COAL MINE AT ROCK CREEK GORGE
Coal mining is returning to Walden's Ridge, to an area already damaged with acidic streams, abandoned mine shafts, heavy metals leaching from rock, and abandoned containment ponds and reclamation sites. The target-the Rock Creek watershed, a rare stream to have escaped the destructive legacy of King Coal.
It will take citizen action to let officials know that this mine cannot go through. The cost will be high, and if the examples of nearby past mines are a guide, could go on forever.
Located on the Hamilton/Bledsoe County line near the Smithville community, this new coal mine is surrounded by past strip mines from the 20th century. Tiacme, a Canadian company, has been test drilling the area extensively.
A Toxic Zone
There are few places in America more dangerous to mine as this part of the ridge, a section of the Sewanee Shale. This formation contains high levels of iron, manganese, and aluminum, with iron being so concentrated in some places that rock disturbance alone can cause waters to run orange. The lack of any limestone buffering capacity causes acid damaged stream to have ph levels of 3 or lower-the acidity of lemon juice.
So bad were the effects of strip mining in the area in the 1980s, that the Rith court decision declared it to be classed as one of Lands Unsuitable for Mining (LUM).
Rock Creek, popular with kayakers, would certainly be damaged by this mine, facing the common effects of acid mine damage that has all but destroyed other watersheds in the area such as the tributaries of North Chickamauga Creek. There is no known way to "restore" acid mine damage. There are numerous streams in the Cumberland Plateau that will be mitigated in perpetuity, where state agencies have to periodically truck in limestone to offset the effects of the acidic discharge from mines abandoned long ago- a situation of taxpayer dollars having to forever cleanup the damage. Part of their drilling has been outside of the LUM designated area, but even then, regulations state that they must show that they can mine the surrounding areas "safely". There is no safe way to mine this area, no matter what elaborate plans Tiacme may present. There is no history of this formation being "safely" mined.
What you can do
Tennessee is the only state that does not retain power to grant coal mining permits, having voluntarily given that authority to the federal Office of Surface Mining OSM. Let the OSM know that no more mines need to come to Waldens Ridge, especially in the Rock Creek area. There is already a deep mine set to open above Dayton, only a few miles north of Rock Creek. The Tiacme mine would add even more of a cumulative impact to the effects of dozens of abandoned mines that have ruined much of the water quality of the ridge. The "jobs and prosperity" argument is a hollow one. People in Bledsoe and Hamilton County will be dealing with the economic and environmental effects of this mine long after it is gone. Spread the word. Let the TDEC and the OSM know that there is no place for this destruction in our backyard.
Send your concerns to:
Earl Bandy Jr., Field Office Director
710 Locust St, 2nd Floor Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
(865) 545-4103 E-mail: [email protected]