BURNT Victory: Demolition of the Nashville Incinerator Tower

BURNT is an all-volunteer group dedicated to environmental advocacy for Tennessee.

Since 1988, we’ve been improving the environment through citizen involvement with government, business and academia.

Core Issues

BURNT is one of the only public groups in Tennessee concerned with the critical, interrelated issues of solid waste management, chemical pollution and land use – topics that affect every single Tennessee resident.

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The future of our state’s environment depends on the attention and actions of people like you.

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Recent Blog Entries

Peter Anderson Comes to the Tennessee General Assembly (in a sense…)

Peter Anderson’s  famous quote is “If you begin with the content of solid waste, solutions fall like rain from the sky.”   This says it all–make your plans on the actual content of solid waste, not on the number of garbage trucks, landfills, or local reports.  Tennessee and local governments virtually ignore the content of solid waste for quotas, reports, and inaccurate statistics. This is leading up to a hearing on a Rule to further obscure state and local numbers by allowing “Qualitative Assessment” local reports which allows the state to pass more local governments as meeting the 25% waste reduction goal.  Already, local governments get credit toward the 25% goal for diversion or recycling for construction waste which is landfilled,  even though construction waste is the richest waste for recycling and creating jobs.  Less than half of the local governments meet the 25%  waste reduction goal even with gaping loop-holes.  **Peter Anderson did not attend the General Assembly–he was represented by his famous quote. BURNT response to proposed amendment to TDEC Rule 0400-11-.01-.09...

BURNT Fails At General Assembly To Connect Air Quality to Landfills

BURNT  does a lot of work at the General Assembly which is not related to specific legislation.  Over the years,we have helped educate the legislature on problems of solid waste and landfills.  For this hearing of the Joint Government Operations Rule Committee we tried to link the refusal of the State Air Quality Board and Air Quality Department to consider odors.  Of course, this is quite strange behavior for an Air Quality Board–how can a State Air Quality Board ignore odors?  However, we found the General Assembly was not interested in this point.  It may be considered unfriendly to business. BURNT has worked two odor cases in Nashville (the four largest cities have identical enabling laws to the State which are interpreted to allow them to regulate air quality).  In both cases involving odors, businesses thrived after the offending plant was closed or regulated.  Of course, farms are a germane point against regulation. Here are examples of citizen testimony about Middle Point landfill in Murfreesboro on August 22 2013: Ms C.W.  –“…the smell [Murfreesboro landfill] is really bad on some days…[the people who live in] Walter Hill should not have to smell the odors that are emitted ” Pre-Hearing Comment #1, pg. 1 of 35 ** Mr. J. R. —“I live about 1 ½ miles from the landfill as the crow flies.  I have lived in my house for 28 years.  For the first 18 years it was not an issue.  In the last 10 years it has been a major issue.  Being able to go out and sit on my porch in the back and have to put up with...

Shortcomings of the TDEC Solid Waste Report

BURNT analyzed the TDEC Solid Waste Report and found many faults. We wrote to the Attorney General, the Governor, the Commissioner, and the Division of Audit, yet received only one perfunctory reply. There can be no doubt that TDEC solid waste policy is a group effort. We found in an economy which took advantage of highly processed raw materials in solid waste there would be almost nothing to landfill. We found that TDEC violates Tennessee Code Annotated 69-211-803 which requires that solid waste facilities do not injure people or the environment. We found that compostable food waste is the largest landfilled waste stream which insures that landfills hurt people and the environment. We found that TDEC and the State solid Waste Board materially changed the conclusions of the Solid Waste Task force, which repudiates the repetitive cry of the Tennessee municipal league for no unfunded solid waste mandates. It is the cities hosting the landfills which suffer unfunded mandates. TDEC_Annual_Report.letters...

BURNT AT METRO COUNCIL — Are We a Super City or Ranked #72?

Nashville has been on a self-congratulatory jag since the New York Times wrote a laudatory article about Nashville. BURNT has been in an office playing a loop on closed circuit television of top ten accomplishments of Nashville ranging from most performance reviews to number of head quarters companies per capita. Nashville is a hot city – or are we number #72, as ranked by the Gallup Poll? In a Healthways article, Nashville was #44 among states on the same ‘wellness’ scale. BURNT points out the terrible inequalities among colleges, the abuse of General hospital by Metro government and Vanderbilt, and the disparity in income between North Nashville and Davidson County. We would say the General Assembly–largely made of former local officials–has the firmest grip on the reality of the bottom level of citizens in Tennessee. Click to read or download our flyer addressing this...

BURNT Corresponds with the Government Operations Committee

BURNT spends time at the legislature on general matters—the impact of landfilling, how to create jobs from recycling, and how local numbers are inaccurate.  These letters illustrate our written approach, which is sometimes too technical.   25 June Government Operations Letter—concerns a request to review past rule decisions including the a Rule 0462 passed in December 2012, the Solid Waste Plan, and other concerns. Click to view or download 25 June 2014 Government Operations Letter 19 July Government Operations Letter—Is a review of statutes and enforcement Click to view or download 19 July Government Operations Letter We understand that every letter is not read.  That is why we go down to the legislature with flyers.  We are fortunate to be working in a non-partisan area of government.  If we can come up solutions and work with TDEC, we can make progress. ...

TDEC Solid Waste Report

BURNT wrote a lengthy analysis of the Annual TDEC  Solid Waste Report.  We found that laws were ignored, solutions not pursued, and landfills not cleaned up.  Included are one page letters to the Attorney General, the Governor, and  the Commissioner.  Someone told  BURNT that if we were located in any other state, that would be a Zero Waste State. TDEC Annual Report for 2014 with BURNT letters...