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Representative government, or corporate grip over policy?

Almost to the day eight years ago, I reported on a proposal by the Office of Surface Mining to streamline permit approvals for projects in which mountain ridges are blasted off for more profitable extraction of coal.
The proposal eliminated or redefined several environmental rules that had constrained this method of coal extraction.
One of the changes allowed deposition of the rubble from mountain blasting into adjacent stream valleys.
Among thousands of opposing comments which the proposal drew from across the nation, OSM found a crucial one from Tennessee.
Then Commissioner Betsy Child of the Department of Environment and Conservation informed the federal office that Tennessee does not, and will not, let its streams be fouled in the process of mining.
The state had permitted a variant of mountaintop removal, cross-ridge mining, to go forward in the Cumberlands.
The placement of spoil in streams, however, in the commissioner’s blunt words, “we do not allow [and] this policy will remain unaltered.”
The state’s existing policy, in other words, makes mining operations stay away from streams a protective distance, banning the placement of overburden in them.
Strongly opposed to the leveling of our high mountains, for five long years through the Scenic Vistas Protection bill, citizens have sought to stop this destructive practice altogether in Tennessee.
The bill would accomplish this by prohibiting permits or variances that allow mining operations to disturb ridgelines above 2,000 feet elevation, while exempting underground mining.
Finally advancing to the senate environment committee this year, with anticipated good prospects of favorable review, the bill was suddenly altered and its ridgeline protection gutted, through an amendment quite astounding in deceptiveness.
The amendment, offered as a water-protection “compromise” while allowing continued blasting-off of mountain heights? “No permit shall be issued that would allow placement of excess overburden in streams!”
With this and another, similarly fake wording “improvement,” the Scenic Vistas Protection bill passed the committee on Feb. 29.
One Republican and three Democratic members voted against the sham, amended bill, five Republican members’ pro-vote secured its approval.
The re-written bill does not protect those scenic vistas, the blasting off of mountaintops being specifically allowed to continue as currently practiced.
Analyzing the latest legislative maneuver and the economics of mining, the “News Sentinel” found that “the bill as originally written would not have crippled the coal industry in Tennessee.”
It employs only a few hundred people here; our $15 billion tourism industry, “much of it based on the beauty of the state’s mountains, employs thousands.”
On a visit to the Hermitage in 1907, Theodore Roosevelt affirmed that representing the values and interests of the people constitutes the essence of our system of government.
“We are a representative government,” he stated. “Executives, legislatures, judges, all public servants are the representatives of the people We are bound to preserve the will of the people.”
Maneuvers such as taken with the Scenic Vistas bill lay bare the extent of corporate dominance over our government today, undermining of the will and sovereignty of the people.