Questions over federal mining laws delay mountaintop mining bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal to ban most mountaintop removal mining in Tennessee is on hold following an attorney general's opinion that federal laws govern the practice.

Sen. Raymond Finney, a Maryville Republican, says he is in discussions with the coal industry and other interested parties about whether he can find some middle ground on his proposal.

Finney's bill would ban surface mining at elevations about 2,000 feet.

Tennessee ran its own federally approved surface mining program in the early 1980s, but relinquished that regulatory authority back to the federal government in 1984.

Lawmakers in neighboring Kentucky earlier this week rejected a proposal that could have stopped mining companies from blasting off mountaintops to expose coal deposits.

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Read SB3822 on the General Assembly's Web site at: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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