In April, the Cumberland Chapter continued its years-long oversight of the Turner Surface Mine by attending a public hearing and information session about the renewing NPDES permit. Six chapter members were in attendance. The highlight of the session was a Google Maps presentation given by TDEC’s Dave Turner, which explored the history of the site and used graphs to show dramatic reductions in the amount of manganese and other pollutants from the water.
Chapter Chair Jean Cheely spoke during the comment section, thanking TDEC, the Office of Surface Mining, and Turner Mine staff for the work they’ve done in cleaning up the discharges from the mine. She also cautioned TDEC against permitting this kind of surface mine in the area again.
The Chapter also had a strong presence at the Cumberland Sustainability Fair, introducing every fifth grader in the county to the importance of pollinators. The highlight was an actual beehive encased in glass, which attracted the attention of students all day. Chapter members Linda Desmond and Nicky Fitchko wore costumes and delivered brief educational statements on how pollinators produce food and what threats they face.
In April, the Chapter hosted an Abandoned Mine Land Fund educational discussion at the Common Grounds Community Center. Chapter member Zune Zettelmeyer had a letter to the editor about the AML Fund appear in the Crossville Chronicle. The Chapter is currently working on bringing back lapsed members, in preparation for a workshop in June to help select an issue. The workshop will be led by Knoxville Chapter member Carmen Morse and East Tennessee Organizer Adam Hughes.
After seeing our hard work pay off with the good news from the Turner Mine site, we’re excited to keep changing Cumberland County.