BURNT IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT WITH GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS, AND ACADEMIA
17 March 2010
The Honorable Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson Chairman Senate Government Operations Committee via electronic mail and hand delivery RE: Audit of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
Dear Chairman Watson: :
I the Committee extend the Department for two years and request the Department of the Audit to submit a written report prior to the start of the next session of the General Assembly based on investigations of citizen comments, business views, and independent
evaluations of the Department including “Commissioner’s orders” and Notices of
–91% of the 3,200 TDEC Employees are white [all Boards]
–46 out of 49 members of the ‘Solid Waste Task Force’, the ‘Solid Waste Advisory Committee’, and the ‘State Solid Waste Disposal Control Board’ which determined proposed solid waste regulations are white [Solid Waste]
–Tennessee landfills are invariably located where poor and minority live [Solid Waste]
–An appeal of Class IV Construction and Demolition Landfill ‘Southern Services’ in a primarily black area of Nashville was heard by the State Water Board composed of 7 members, all white, and all white males and four apparently worked for the state of Tennessee [Water Board]
—The Environmental Injustice Coordinator is not active and involved Disastrous Pollution
–Top TDEC officials routinely say that no one in Tennessee should drink well water [Water, Board and Ground Water Board]
P.O. BOX 128555
A Member Of
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE 37212 firstname.lastname@example.org
–TVA Coal Ash fill, permitted and regulated by TDEC, apparently had many failures and was allowed three vertical expansion prior to cataclysmic failure in December 2008 Coffee County Landfill, Dickson County Landfill, Cedar Ridge Landfill, Carter Valley Landfill,
and TVA Coal Ash Landfill in Camden are among landfills which have very serious pollution
of water and environment
–Oak Ridge is a 20,000 year disaster with blatant examples of environmental injustice in disposal of waste ; Kodak was welcomed to Tennessee after Rochester New York forced the company to bundle the worst of their polluters
Class IV Landfills
–Tennessee is the only State in the Country which credits materials landfilled in Class IV Construction and Demolition as recycled
–In 1996, TDEC pushed legislation through the General Assembly to credit construction waste landfilled in Class IV Construction and Demolition Landfills as recycled,
Solid Waste Numbers
–The ‘State Solid Waste Task Force’, primarily comprised of local solid waste managers from across the state as part of solid waste reform under the Solid Waste Act of 2007 (SB 2267/HB 2280), voted unanimously that local solid waste reports to the State are inaccurate and do not reflect reality
–The Davidson County Region Solid Waste Board Metro issued a “Regional Solid Waste Plan Update” in December 2008 which contained a waste stream analysis on Table 3-3 that stated Metropolitan Government recycled and composted 421,405.46 tons of out of a 1,287,077.00 million ton waste stream. The indicators these figures in the report are false-
–Waste stream numbers were broken down to the hundredth of a ton in a 1,287,077.00 million ton waste stream–for example–128,001.17 tons of ferrous metals or 46,328.58 tons of corrugated cardboard. It is impossible to have such figures down to 20 pounds in a 1,
287,077.00 ton waste stream.
TDEC Boards–Special interests, no independent staff, segregated
—Boards within TDEC are dominated by powerful, special interests which name candidates for the boards. .
—Boards have no independent staff, attorneys, or advisors. All research, agendas, and
process are determined by the TDEC agencies that each board manages. .
—Other Boards in Tennessee and environmental Boards in other states have independent staff and lawyers
Dickson County Landfill Fraud
–The Dickson County Landfill, now closed, was the destination for heavy industrial chemicals including solvents, pesticides, and by-products from fiber glass manufacturing. The chemicals have heavily polluted ground water and fresh water in Dickson County
–Landfills which pollute ground water or freshwater with listed Appendix II pollutants trigger
State regulations which mandate specified steps including, notifying citizens who live above the pollution plume, holding a public meeting for citizens, researching remediation, actual remediation, a vertical and horizontal ground water assessment, and other steps. .
–However, TDEC and Dickson County, the landfill owner, developed a “Ground Water Protection Plan” which…
a. is a fictional and made up term that does not exist in Federal or State law–there is no regulatory basis for the term “Ground Water Pollution Plan”
b. allows Dickson County to avoid mandated obligations such as notification of citizens who live above the pollution plume, performing a vertical and horizontal ground water assessment, holding a public meeting to discuss remediation, and
c. The “Ground Water Protection Plan” instead focuses on ‘institution controls’ such as public water pipes, not allowing new drinking wells, and continued water testing.
—Failure to Enforce a ‘Notice of Violation’ (NOV) issued 24 March 2003 by TDEC to Dickson County has allowed numerous violations of law to fester…
A. A Notice of Violation (NOV) issued 24 March 2003 by TDEC determined that Dickson County is in violation of two (2) Commissioner’s Orders issued 15 October 2001
1. Violations range from failure to sample correctly, not reporting results, and failure to install an agreed monitoring well (page 2-3, 24 March 2003 NOV))
2. Dickson County failed to notify people who own land or reside on land over lying areas that are known to overlie any part of the plume of contamination (pg. 5, 24 March 2003 NOV)) This is major violation. Dickson County has not notified people who are directly impacted and some of whom are illiterate.
3. Dickson County has not completed an assessment of corrective measures including vertical [and horizontal] extent of ground water assessment [pg. 5-6, 24 March 2003, NOV]
a. The water pollution has migrated 12 square miles from the 75 acre landfill.
b. Failure to remediate the pollution or comply with notice requirements to people living above the pollution plume or to perform mandated vertical and horizontal ground water assessments has created an extremely polluted site.
TDEC aggressively encourages importation, processing, and landfilling of nuclear when all other states, except Utah, and foreign countries are reducing nuclear waste.
1. Decision Making at TDEC on Nuclear Waste
A 12 September 2006 “MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT” between the Division of Radiological Heath (DRH) and the Division of Solid Waste Management (DSWM)
1. Apparently there is no board which oversees enforcement or development of rules concerning disposal of radioactive waste
2. What is the authority under law for the DRH to expose Tennessee citizens and environment to any increased exposure to radioactive waste?
3. What is regulatory basis for TDEC—apparently the Radiological Health Division–in October 2008 to approve Amendment 28 of Studsvik license R-6011 E-17 (Erwin, Tennessee) to take title and liability to class b and class c nuclear waste which relieves nuclear power plants of the obligation to dispose of this waste. Why are Tennessee taxpayers, environments, and landfills subsidizing out of state nuclear power plants by providing a safe haven for nuclear waste?
4. So called “low-level” radioactive waste [through the Bulk Survey For Release—BSFR–, VCD—Volumetric Clearance for Disposal, and BWAP—Bulk Waste Assay Program–is landfilled at BFI North (Memphis), BFI South (Memphis), Chestnut Ridge (Anderson County), Carter Valley (Hawkins County, Church Hill Tennessee), and formerly in Middlle Point in Murfreesboro [voluntarily suspended by BFI] BFI North and BFI South may endanger the vital Memphis Aquifer. Carter Valley has had multiple water leaks. Middle Point is located within two hundred yards of the Stones River a source for public drinking water and on karst geology. From the TVA Coal Ash Landfill to Dickson County, permitted landfills in Tennessee have proven to be environmental disasters—how can we tell if nuclear waste will not pollute our drinking water? .
A. Please evaluate Oak Ridge Tennessee as well as known nuclear incidents in Erwin Tennessee including known spills. Oak Ridge is one of the toxic hot spots on the planet–who will clean this up, who will pay, and how long will it take?
1. Some of this pollution is environmental injustice–raw dumping of radio active waste into a creek through Scarborough, a primarily black neighborhood. This stream was used for recreation, fishing, and water.
B. Where is the routine reporting provided to the public about radioactive emissions into air and water from all nuclear facilities in Tennessee?
1. TDEC allows landfilling of radioactive waste without requiring monitoring of groundwater or sources of drinking water which could be polluted. (Expert Opinion, pg. 3,
C. Memphis has two major, regional landfills in the inner city which accept radioactive waste and a invaluable aquifer vital to the city yet there is no monitoring of the landfill or groundwater for radioactive run off Lax enforcement is a distinguishing mark of TDEC
A. Several enforcement actions of TDEC illustrate problem of agency
A. Egyptian Lacquer polluted air and water in Franklin, Tennessee yet for many months TDEC and company representatives denied that any such pollution existed or could possibly have comme from Egyptian Lacquer—none of the discovered chemical were ever used at Egyptian Lacquer. In the end, Egyptian Lacquer was fully responsible for them chemicals which leaked from an unused tank. Only committed citizens and a strong citizen group over came TDEC institutional inertia.
B. Dickson County Landfill TCA 69-3-118(a) Water Complaint–Citizens complained under TCA 69-3-118(a) that the Dickson County Landfill leaked polluted leachate when it rained. TCA 69-3-118(a allows TDEC staff to investigate and report on citizen complaints. A hearing is guaranteed before the State Water Board if there is no resolution. Instead, the Office of General Counsel and a senior member of the Commissioner’s Office dismissed the action with no hearing on the basis a corporation was representing the citizens without an attorney and that the action duplicated previous hearings and actions. The action was dismissed with no hearing, or at least no hearing the
citizens knew about.
This is the type of environmental regulation which would be expected for a state at the bottom of national rankings in literacy, obesity, smoking, infant mortality, and health. For seventy years, our elected and unelected officials have recruited business, no matter how polluting, to create jobs to fight poverty. It is difficult to expect a State agency to stand independent of this culture. Yet, with the emergence of even more pernicious chemicals to pollute our water and the vital growth of tourism as a clean, money making business, we must protect the environment and our people. We have listed individual goals for TDEC to meet after most sections above.
Bruce Wood R C Bartlett
President Vice President