Monday, April 13, 2009

LEGISLATIVE ANNOUNCEMENT: Following bills affecting your rights and your pocketbooks to be considered this week by the following lawmakers

The Tennessee Environmental Council puts out the following warning on two bills to be considered this week by state lawmakers.

State Legislature to Consider Bills on Nuisances and Container Deposits

Bills depriving Tennesseans of the right to pursue nuisance complaints in certain situations and enacting a deposit for the recycling of beverage containers will be considered in the Tennessee General Assembly next week.

The nuisance bill, House Bill 2154, declares that any project that has a state permit cannot be considered a nuisance.

"This legislation basically allows developers to get a permit and do what they want without regard for their neighbors," said John McFadden, executive director of the Tennessee Environmental Council. "For instance, let's say you live next to a road construction or real estate development project, and mud from the project site is flowing onto your property and into your creek. This bill would make it almost impossible for you to do anything about it."

Citizens are encouraged to contact their state legislators in opposition to this bill.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville and Sen. Lowe Finney, D-Jackson. It will be reviewed in the House Civil Practice and Procedure Subcommittee on Tuesday, April 14 at noon. Subcommittee members: Brian Kelsey, Chair, R-Germantown; Henry Fincher, Vice-Chair, D-Cookeville; Kent Coleman, D-Murfreesboro; Vance Dennis, R-Savannah; Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol; Mike Stewart, D-Nashville.

Another bill, to be considered in the Senate Environment, Conservation & Tourism Committee, would enact the Tennessee Deposit Beverage Container Recycling Act.

The act is similar to container deposit laws in 11 other states. It would require a 5-cent deposit for each container at the time of purchase. The consumer would get the deposit back for recycling the container.

The act would apply to beverage containers made of glass, plastic, or aluminum/bimetal holding beer, soft drinks, water, tea, coffee, and other beverages.

"The container deposit legislation would create jobs and clean up roadside litter," said McFadden. "States that have this type of legislation have experienced drastic increases in recycling and reduced littering."

Citizens are encouraged to contact their legislators in support of this bill.

The bill has numerous sponsors in the House and Senate. It will be reviewed on Tues., April 14 at 11:30 a.m. Senate Environment, Conservation & Tourism Committee members: Steve Southerland, R-Morristown; Ken Yager, R-Harriman; Eric Stewart, D-Belvidere; Tim Barnes, D-Adams; Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey; Mike Faulk, R-Kingsport; Doug Jackson, D-Dickson; Jack Jackson, R-Franklin; Jamie Woodson, R-Knoxville.

About Tennessee Environmental Council:
The Council's mission is to educate and advocate for conservation and improvement of Tennessee's environment, communities, and public health. The Council's efforts have been successful in protecting the Great Smoky Mountains, cleaning up the Pigeon River, reducing pollution from TVA's coal-fired power plants, and preventing degradation of high-quality streams and the globally significant Rumbling Falls Cave system. The Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1970.

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