Bill To "Poison" Tennesee Streams Falls One Vote Short

"Legislation allowing more selenium to be released into Tennessee streams fell one vote short of passage Wednesday after lawmakers were told approval would mean poisoning the state's waters to help coal company win a lawsuit attacking its pollution.

The 49-41 vote, one shy of the 50 needed for approval, came after more than two hours of debate and sends the Senate-passed measure back to the House Calendar Committee. Sponsor Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, could bring it back for another try.

The sharpest attack on the bill came in an impassioned speech by Rep. Mike McDonald, D-Portland. He said the measure is intended to help Knoxville-based National Coal Co., which is accused of violating pollution laws on 13 occasions through release of selenium."

Nashville Bureau Chief Tom Humphrey reports in a column for the Knoxville News June 3, 2009.

Thursday, June 4, 2009