Southern Services Landfill in Nashville's Bordeaux community. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Fight over landfill in historically Black Nashville neighborhood heads to court

BY: - January 12, 2022

UPDATE: On Wednesday, after publication of this story, the court rescheduled the date for a hearing in the legal battle over expanding a Bordeaux landfill. The hearing, originally set for Thursday, Jan. 12, is now scheduled for Tuesday, March 1. A dispute over the future of a landfill in the historically Black Bordeaux neighborhood of […]

Utility district withdraws effort to confiscate private land from influential Williamson Co family

BY: - January 4, 2022

A small water utility company has stood down from its legal fight to seize private property belonging to a prominent Williamson County family who waged a fierce public campaign against the plans to install large tanks holding millions of gallons of water on their land. The Milcrofton Utility District last week withdrew its petition to […]

Satellite image of a portion of the Megasite of West Tennesseee. (Tennessee Department of General Services.)

Ford megasite atop ‘recharge zone’ for underregulated Memphis Sands aquifer 

BY: - January 3, 2022

Ford Motor Co. promises a green future at its Blue Oval campus, where it will produce zero-emissions pickup trucks with advanced batteries. But forthcoming plans and actions in the new year will prove whether the company and the state are committed to protecting the existing environment at the megasite – like the Memphis Sands aquifer […]

Two Amish men continue their routine of delivering milk, while an American flag flies at half staff. (Photo: John Partipilo)

The year in photos: Part Two

BY: , and - December 30, 2021

In our second gallery of photographs that defined 2020, we share works by photojournalists John Partipilo and Karen Pulfer Focht on topics including the environment, families with special needs children and immigration issues. While 2021 wasn’t characterized by the same type of demonstrations that marked 2020, the year nonetheless had its share of demonstrations by […]

Southern Services Landfill in Nashville's Bordeaux community. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Nashville judge issues setback to Middle Point landfill expansion plans

BY: - December 22, 2021

A Nashville judge issued an unusual setback to controversial plans to expand a landfill in Rutherford County that serves as the final destination for household trash from 34 Tennessee counties, among them rapidly growing population centers in and around Nashville. Chancery Court Judge Russell Perkins on Monday ordered the dispute over Middle Point Landfill in […]

Memphis City Hall (Photo: City of Memphis Community Affairs page, Facebook)

Questions linger of TVA move to relocated coal ash in Memphis

BY: - December 22, 2021

On Tuesday, Memphis city council members discussed the difficulties they’ve had getting clear answers from TVA on the agency’s decision to relocate coal ash to Southeast Memphis.  Since routine groundwater monitoring found elevated levels of arsenic in ponds situated over the Memphis Sand Aquifer, TVA officials have been under pressure to remove coal ash stored […]

Renderings of a revitalized Second Avenue, complete with sustainability features like drought resistant plants in street planters. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Environmental sustainability gains ground in Nashville redevelopment

BY: - December 13, 2021

When Nashville Mayor John Cooper gave an update Wednesday on the redevelopment of historic Second Avenue following the Christmas 2020 bombing, he talked of revitalization plans that wouldn’t have happened were it not for the incident — a making of lemonade from life’s lemons scenario. Among the improvements Cooper discussed were creation of an integrated […]

Tree trunks in the Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness Area in Sparta marked for clearcutting, despite local opposition. Photo: John Partipilo

Clearcutting plans in state wilderness area gets legal approval despite local opposition

BY: - December 6, 2021

A controversial plan by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials to clearcut forest in a popular hunting, hiking and recreation area in order to create habitat for Northern bobwhite quail has gotten a legal go-ahead, despite opposition from residents and local leaders in White County, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and environmental groups. The 16,000-acre […]

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

Memphis City Council backs residents and rules against gas station operators

BY: - November 17, 2021

On Tuesday, Memphis City Council pushed back against gas station developers and passed a regulatory ordinance in favor of residents concerned about pollution to the city’s drinking water.   In the past several months, residents and community leaders urged city and county officials to regulate undesirable companies–including gas stations– from springing up near their neighborhoods. Over […]

Memphis residents wage fight against TVA coal ash storage

BY: - November 15, 2021

Activist Justin J. Pearson had barely finished one environmental fight before he realized he needed to get involved in another.  Pearson, co-founder of Memphis Against the Pipeline, was a leader in a community pushback against the Byhalia Pipeline, a 49-mile oil conduit through historically Black Memphis neighborhoods. Activists said it was a prime example of […]

Andrew Byrd at the farm he owns with his wife, Marianne Menefee Byrd, on historic Holly Tree Gap in Williamson County. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Williamson County land use battle pits utility district against owners of historic farm

BY: - November 11, 2021

Holly Tree Gap is a quiet, three-mile stretch of winding road flanked by woods, meadows and horse pastures, with only a few of the spacious homes that characterize much of the rest of Williamson County along its path. But in recent weeks, a proliferation of white signs with black lettering have begun to appear, signaling […]

NOVEMBER 05: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) speak to reporters at the U.S. Capitol building as the House prepares to vote on infrastructure and spending bills, on November 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

U.S. House sends $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to Biden for his signature

BY: and - November 6, 2021

WASHINGTON—The U.S. House cleared a $1.2 trillion physical infrastructure bill and took a major step toward passage of a landmark $1.85 trillion social spending and climate bill late Friday, following months of wrangling between Democrats’ progressive and moderate wings. The votes marked a milestone in the marathon negotiations among members of the House Democratic caucus—and […]