U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) voted to uphold a clean air rule that would require coal plants to install the same pollution control equipment the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has already committed to installing.
“TVA can’t clean up Tennessee’s air alone because dirty air blows in from other states,” Alexander said in a pre-vote speech on the Senate floor (Video HERE). “Let me say what upholding this rule will mean to the people of Tennessee: It will hasten the day that Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville are not three of the top five worst asthma cities in America and Nashville is not competing to be in the top 10.”
“Upholding this rule means that visitors will soon not even think of calling the Great Smoky Mountains the Great SmoggyMountains because it is one of the most polluted national parks in America. We want those 9 million visitors to keep coming every year with their dollars and their jobs,” he said.
“Instead of seeing 24 miles on a bad air day from Clingman’s Dome, our highest peak, this rule should mean we will gradually move toward seeing 100 miles from Clingman’s Dome as the air cleans up and we look through the natural blue haze,” he said. “We have seen that had Nissan been unable to get an air-quality permit in Nashville in 1980, it would have gone to Georgia, and if Senator Corker had not, as mayor of Chattanooga, improved the air quality in that city in the mid 2000s, the Volkswagen site there would be a vacant lot today.”