Sprawl and Over-development

Many cities and counties in Tennessee are increasingly struggling to find ways to preserve open space and curb suburban sprawl. If elected, how would you address this problem?

Tennessee's urban areas, like those in other Southeast states, are experiencing rapid growth. According to the Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the population of five counties in Middle Tennessee (Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner) is expected to grow by 435,000 by 2025 - an increase of 43 percent. In addition, vehicle miles traveled for the five counties are projected to increase by 60 percent. As housing tracts, strip malls, highways and golf courses are built to accommodate this growth, cities and counties are forced to deal with increased air and water pollution, traffic congestion and a loss of key wildlife habitat. Elected officials - from zoning boards and county commissioners to governors and state legislators - must address suburban sprawl and related open space preservation, land-use planning and transportation issues, well into the new century

Clean Air

Should we close the loopholes that allow older coal-fired power plants to pollute the air?

Air quality ranks second only to water quality when it comes to the top concerns of Tennessee voters. Tennessee is home to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), one of the largest utility companies in the United States. More than 60 percent of TVAís power is generated by coal-fired power plants, which are among the biggest contributors to air pollution problems. Emissions from these plants have been linked to acid raid, water pollution and global warming. While TVA has announced plans to invest huge sums in reducing harmful emissions from its coal-fired plants, EPA air quality models indicate that those reductions will not be enough for Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville to achieve compliance with clean air standards. The actions of elected officials could help determine whether these polluting plants are allowed to continue harming our air.

Chip Mills

If elected what would you do to ensure that chip mills - highly mechanized facilities that grind whole logs into wood chips for paper, particle board, and other products - do not harm the Tennessee economy and environment?

Tennessee forests are being harvested at rapidly increasing rates. According to the Southeast Regional Timber Supply (SERTS) model, timber harvesting is expected to double in Tennessee over the next 15 years. Chip mills, which grind whole logs into wood chips for such products as paper and particle board, are one of the biggest culprits. Over the past ten years the number of these facilities has steadily grown, raising concerns about their effect on the environment, particularly water quality. Currently, logging companies are not required to obtain water discharge permits or clean air permits in Tennessee. How Tennessee officials address this issue will determine whether chip mills are managed in a way that protects the stateís air, water and wildlife.

Clean Water

If elected how do you propose to address the serious economic and environmental impacts of factory farms in the state?

Tennessee voters are deeply concerned about clean water, ranking it the most pressing environmental issue in the state. The growth of large factory farms is one of the biggest threats to the state's waterways. State environmental regulations are failing to keep up with the rapid growth of these farms and their resulting pollution. Direct discharges of manure from leaky and poorly constructed containment devices are serious threats to surface and groundwater. In addition, polluted runoff from farms and ranches is also a threat to state water quality. How elected officials address this issue, will determine whether Tennessee's waterways remain healthy for future generations.

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