Help Protect Tennessee's Rivers

posted November 20, 2001
by Kevin Colburn

Protect Tennessee's Water Quality and Supplies From Irresponsible Logging Practices!
Urge the State To Strengthen Chip Mill Storm Water Permits
TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) is about to reissue its industrial storm water permits, including chip mill facilities that encourage the large-scale clearcutting spreading across Tennessee and the Southeast. Voice your concern at a public hearings and/or a letter to the state!! (Sample Letter and Public Hearing dates and locations are listed below.)
Forestry is a WATER issue! We deserve clean water to drink, fish, swim and for outdoor recreation. Our forested watersheds are among North America's most biologically diverse regions and deserve protection. But, current laws fail to protect Tennessee's water quality and supplies from the effect of the rapid sweep of industrial scale logging to supply the pulp and paper and chipboard industries. Clearcutting -- the harvest method used by chip mills -- is legal! Some cuts are thousands of acres in size. A pre-harvest notification is not required, leaving the state unaware of thousands of remote logging operations across the state annually. In addition, the state only monitors 8 percent of the total number of logging operations statewide each year to ensure that the voluntary Best Management Practices are implemented to protect streams and wetlands. Who is keeping a protective eye on Tennessee's valuable forested watesheds?
Voice Your Concerns at a Public Hearing or Letter to TDEC
PUBLIC HEARINGS:
Nashville: November 26, 2001 7 p.m. Ruth Neff Conf. Room 17th floor L&C Tower at 4th Ave, & Church Street

Knoxville: December 6, 2001 7 p.m. (c.s.t.) Goins Auditorium, Pellissippi State Community College 10915 Hardin Valley Rd.

Jackson: December 13, 2001 7 p.m. (c.s.t.) Large Conference Room of Environmental Assistance Center 362 Carriage House Drive

End of Draft Permit Comment Period: December 24, 2001
Join with families, concerned communities and businesses in Tennessee as we urge TDEC to provide the bold leadership necessary to prevent pollution from unchecked clearcutting. TDEC can include these reasonable safeguards that will begin to address the effects of large-scale clearcutting on Tennessee streams and wetlands!

TDEC can include these reasonable safeguards in chip mill storm water permits:
· Require public participation! In light of the intense public concern surrounding the chip mills and the remote clearcutting to supply the mills, TDEC has the statutory authority and an obligation to require public participation.
· Require the reporting of logging sites that supply the chip mill. The state should know where the large-scale cutting will occur. Knowledge will aid the prevention of stream pollution, streamline state monitoring and save money for the state!
SAMPLE LETTER:
Send to: 1) Governor Don Sundquist, State Capitol Bldg., Nashville, TN 37243-9711
Important Copies!! 2) TDEC Commissioner Milton Hamilton, and 3) Water Pollution Control Director, Paul Davis
TDEC, L&C Building, 401 Church St, Nashville, TN 37243-1534
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RE: A Proposal to Strengthen Chip Mill Storm Water Permits within the Tennessee Multi-Sector Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges.



Dear Governor Sundquist,
I am writing to urge you to provide bold leadership for our state by strengthening the storm water permit for chip mills. Forestry is a water issue! We deserve clean water to drink, fish, swim, and for outdoor recreation. Our forested watersheds are among North America's most biologically diverse regions and deserve protection. Today, Tennessee's forested watersheds are threatened by the expansion of industrial forestry chip mills. Forestry experts predict that hardwood harvest rates in Tennessee will increase almost 100 percent in during the next twenty years. (Robert Abt, 1993)

Current laws fail to protect Tennessee's water quality and supplies from the effect of the rapid sweep of industrial scale logging to supply the pulp and paper and chipboard industries. Clearcutting -- the harvest method used by chip mills -- is legal! Some cuts are thousands of acres in size. A pre-harvest notification is not required, leaving the state unaware of thousands of remote logging operations across the state annually. The state only monitors 8 percent of the total number of logging operations statewide each year to ensure that the voluntary Best Management Practices are implemented to protect streams and wetlands. In addition, less than 50 percent of any given watershed in Tennessee is assessed by the state -- all but excluding the remote headwater streams where most industrial logging occurs. Who is keeping a protective eye on Tennessee's valuable forested watersheds?
"How we manage our forests has a profound effect on the quality of our drinking water and the ability of our watersheds to perform their most basic functions." (Former Chief of the USFS, Mike Dombeck, speech to American Forest and Paper Industry, 2000)

We urge you to support strengthening chip mill storm water permits by 1) including public participation. In light of the intense public concern surrounding the chip mills and the remote clearcutting to supply the mills, we believe TDEC has the statutory authority and an obligation to require public participation; and, 2) requiring a report of logging locations that supply the chip mill. The state should know where the large-scale cutting will occur. This will aid the prevention of stream pollution, streamline state monitoring and save money for the state. These reasonable safeguards will begin to address the new pressures created by modern timber practices, particularly the effects of large-scale clearcutting on Tennessee streams and wetlands.

Sincerely,
For More Information, contact: Cielo Sand, cielo@dogwoodalliance.org or, 423-332-7391