State plan to take over coal mining oversight draws fire - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

State plan to take over coal mining oversight draws fire

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Source: Knox News Source: Knox News
NASHVILLE (News Sentinel) -

NASHVILLE — A proposal to have the state take over regulation of coal mining in Tennessee from the federal government, scheduled for its first legislative hearing this week, faces criticism as a drain on state financial resources and a weakening of environmental regulations.

Those contentions are disputed by proponents of the move, which would reverse a state decision made 30 years ago to let the federal Office of Surface Mining replace the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in regulating the coal industry.

The Tennessee Mining Association and Republican sponsors of the bill, Sen. Ken Yager of Harriman and Rep. Dennis Powers of Jacksboro, provided copies of a new draft of the legislation (SB1998) last week to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The panel is scheduled to vote on the "Primacy and Reclamation Act of Tennessee" Wednesday at what is billed as the committee's last meeting of the 2014 legislative session.

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