Environment

Memphis residents are pushing back against the Byhalia Pipeline project. The proposed pipeline, has been the subject of controversy since 2019. The joint venture project would build a 49-mile pipeline between Memphis and Mississippi and would run through several Black communities in Memphis. VALERO Memphis Refinery (PICTURED) is located on along the Mississippi River's Lake McKellar in South Memphis. (Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht)

Lookout in Brief: Byhalia Pipeline halted but Memphis Council still pushes protective legislation

BY: - July 7, 2021

The Byhalia Connection pipeline project has been abandoned by its developers but Memphis council members continue to push legislation to protect the Memphis Sand Aquifer. On Tuesday, an ordinance for protecting Shelby County’s natural water source was up for a final reading, but was withdrawn. In its place, councilmember JB Smiley introduced a substitute aquifer […]

An apartment building under construction on McEwen Drive in Franklin. (Photo: staff)

State regulators plan to loosen runoff rules at construction sites

BY: - June 30, 2021

A state plan to rollback longstanding regulations for construction site runoff is drawing opposition from environmental groups who fear that Tennessee creeks ands streams will suffer. Stormwater discharges from construction sites —rainwater that sweeps soil or other particles off-site — can flow into nearby waterways, often creating silt deposits that impact aquatic life and water […]

The landfill operated by Waste Management in northwest Davidson County. (Photo: John Partipilo)

‘Y’all are crappy neighbors’: Rutherford County residents slam landfill expansion plan at public hearing

BY: - June 29, 2021

Rutherford county residents on Monday evening blasted a plan to expand a regional landfill located in fast-growing Murfreesboro suburbs that serves as the final destination for trash from 27 surrounding counties. Republic Services, operators of the Middle Point Landfill, have proposed expanding the controversial landfill by nearly 100 acres, lengthening its estimated 7 years of […]

Gas stations with convenience stores are often the only source of grocery shopping for residents in low income neighborhoods. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State lawmakers cut big oil a big break

BY: - June 9, 2021

Two weeks after the formal close of the Tennessee legislative season, a committee of lawmakers agreed to give the state’s petroleum companies a big break. The Joint Government Operations Committee approved new rules that shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers for […]

Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland sits with his face in his hands at a contentious meeting to discuss the Middle Point landfill in Murfreesboro. (Photo: John Partipilo)

While battles loom over landfills, Middle Tennessee hurtles toward a trash crisis 

BY: and - May 24, 2021

From a lawsuit over the rejected expansion of a landfill in Nashville to the protracted political battle over closing the landfill in Murfreesboro, the urgency of Middle Tennessee’s trash crisis has increased in intensity in recent months. The situation has all the ingredients for a political logjam. Neighborhoods across the region have made blocking new […]

Report: $126M price tag for cleaning up Tennessee’s abandoned coal fields

BY: - May 19, 2021

Tennessee has more than 14,000 acres of abandoned coal fields, but the cost of remediation —such as replanting trees and improving water quality — far outweigh the federal funding available to the state, a new report shows.  The report by the Ohio River Valley Institute, a think tank dedicated to examining Appalachia, concluded that the […]

Tyson Foods’ expansion in west Tennessee is pitting longtime farmers against one of the nation’s biggest protein suppliers

BY: - May 3, 2021

BEECH BLUFF, TN — Larry Blankenship and his wife, Monica, lived in a trailer on his father’s farm for more than 30 years while saving for a home of their own. They finally did in 2019, moving into a pretty one-story ranch built where their trailer used to be.  But their joy was short-lived; the […]

Map of Tennessee sewage systems (Source: Southern Environmental Law Center)

For-profit sewage providers are seeking access to public funds, a move environmental groups oppose

BY: - April 1, 2021

Last spring, neighbors in the River Rest Estates subdivision in Williamson County made an unpleasant discovery: a sewage-smelling sludge surging out of a manhole cover next to soccer fields in the community’s recreational areas. Strewn around the manhole were blobs of soiled toilet paper. In the nearby Cartwright Creek, some of the fish were dead. […]

The landfill operated by Waste Management in northwest Davidson County. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Board denies landfill expansion plans in northwest Davidson County

BY: - March 25, 2021

Nashville’s Solid Waste Board has denied plans for the expansion of a controversial landfill that has, for decades, been the source of anger and frustration in Bordeaux, the largely African-American suburb northwest of downtown. The decision at the end of the four-hour meeting on Wednesday is not likely, however, to be the last say on […]

The landfill operated by Waste Management in northwest Davidson County. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Elected officials add voices to debate over Nashville landfill in Black neighborhood

BY: - March 24, 2021

A public oversight board will meet Wednesday to weigh the future of a landfill in northwest Nashville that takes in 90 percent of all construction waste generated in the city but will reach capacity within the next three years.  For decades, the Southern Services landfill has been the final destination for debris from commercial and […]