Tennessee Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition
Under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA), a member of the public may petition a state regulatory authority to declare areas not otherwise precluded from coal mining operations as "lands unsuitable for mining" (LUM). Such a designation would mean that no new surface coal mining permits could be issued within the designated area.
As the SMCRA regulatory authority in Tennessee, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is evaluating a petition to designate more than 67,000 acres as unsuitable for surface coal mining. The bureau began work on the petition in 2010 after the State of Tennessee petitioned OSMRE to designate certain ridge lines and connecting corridors within the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and Emory River Tract Conservation Easement under the discretionary provisions of Section 522 of SMCRA. The petition seeks to prevent surface mining within 600 feet on either side of ridge lines within the 269 square miles of the two areas.
The following assertions serve as the basis for the State’s petition:
- Surface coal mining operations are incompatible with existing State or local land use plans or programs; and,
- Surface coal mining operations would affect fragile or historic lands, resulting in significant damage to important historic, cultural, scientific, and aesthetic values and natural systems.
In July 2014, OSMRE secured contractor services to prepare and publish the Petition Evaluation Document/Environmental Impact Statement (PED/EIS) document.
February 8: Read the News Release "OSMRE Reopens Comment Period on Tennessee Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition"
February 16: Public Comment Report on Tennessee Lands Unsuitable for Mining Draft Petition Evaluation Document/Environmental Impact Statement - Comments collected through January 25, 2016. (5 MB)
Comments collected after January 25th will be posted after the reopened comment period closes on February 26, 2016.
Draft PED/EIS Comments
The draft PED/EIS is now available for review. The public comment period has been extended to February 26, 2016. Comments should be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (EDT).
Copies of the draft are available for review:
- OSMRE Knoxville Field Office
- Anderson County Planning and Zoning Office
- Morgan County Clerk’s Office
- Campbell County Mayor’s Office
- Scott County Assessor of Property Office
- Oak Ridge Public Library
- Wartburg Public Library
- Jacksboro Public Library
- Huntsville Public Library
- Lawson McGhee Library
Submit Comments Electronically - Deadline now extended to February 26, 2016
Comments may be submitted electronically at the following link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/OSMRE_TN_LUM/.
Notice is hereby given that OSMRE will provide four public meetings for the purpose of gathering comments on the draft PED/EIS in response to the State of Tennessee’s Lands Unsuitable for Mining (LUM) Petition.
Oral or written comments may be presented at any one of the four public hearings:
- Wartburg Central High School, Wartburg, TN on Monday, January 11, 2016
- Roane State Community College, Huntsville, TN on Tuesday, January 12, 2016
- Clinton Community Center, Clinton, TN on Wednesday, January 13, 2016
- Campbell County High School, JROTC Room, Jacksboro, TN on Thursday, January 14, 2016
The time for all four meetings is 5:30 p.m. (EDT). OSMRE personnel will be on-site and available to answer questions. The public hearings will commence at 6:30 and will continue until all persons scheduled to speak have been heard. In the event one or more of the above meetings are cancelled due to weather, an alternate date, time, and location will be announced here on OSMRE’s website, http://www.osmre.govTNLUM.shtm.
Review the TN LUM Fact Sheet for additional details on the TN LUM Petition.
For more information you may call 865-545-4103 extension 149, or send an e-mail message to TNLUM@osmre.gov.
Video Presentation for the public meetings:
Below is the presentation shown at the public hears or (view as a pdf):
Developing the Petition Evaluation Document and EIS
The steps below constitute the process OSMRE is following as it develops the document.
Notice of Intent Published in Federal Register
Preparation of Draft PED/EIS
Notice of Availability of Draft PED/EIS
Public Comment Period for the Draft PED/EIS
Preparation of Final PED/EIS
Notice of Availability of Final PED/EIS
30 Day Waiting Period as Required by NEPA
Record of Decision
OSMRE will update this chart as the LUM process progresses.
- December 10 News Release: Read the News Release "OSMRE Opens Comment Period on Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Tennessee Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition and Announces Public Hearings to Gather Input from Stakeholders"
- State of Tennessee Wildlife Management Area Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition; September 30, 2010 (4 MB)
- Map of the Petition Area (Exhibit A) as Submitted by the State of Tennessee (3 MB)
- Federal Register: Notice of Receipt of a Petition to Designate Lands Unsuitable for Mining and to Prepare a Petition Evaluation Document and Environmental Impact Statement; February 8, 2011
- Scoping Report: Petition Evaluation Document/Environmental Impact Statement North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and Emory Tract Conservation Easement; December 1, 2011
- Petitions to Intervene
- Intervention Request filed on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association, the Warioto Chapter of the National Audubon Society, the Tennessee Ornithological Society, the Tennessee Environmental Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Sierra Club; November 24, 2010 (4 MB)
- Intervention Request filed on behalf of National Coal, LLC; April 13, 2011 (13 MB)
- Intervention Request filed on behalf of Tennessee Mining Association, National Mining Association, and Campbell County, Tennessee; January 7, 2011 (12 MB)
OSMRE's re-creation of the State's Petition Map
The map below shows the 600-foot ridge line buffer zones described in the petition.
Abandoned highwall from pre-SMCRA mining within the Tennessee Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition Area.