Environmentalists are gearing up to fight state legislation that could curtail court claims for compensation against polluters in Tennessee.
In a press release today, the Tennessee Clean Water Network called it “one of the most destructive bills to emerge during this year’s legislative session.” It would exempt companies operating with state permits from the nuisance claims of neighboring property owners.
The bill is on the agenda next week for a meeting of the state House Judiciary Committee, which is studying legislation in advance of next year’s session.
“This bill is an especially dangerous threat to our private property rights and protection from pollution,” says Renee Hoyos, executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network. “We must let our state leaders know we are not OK with our legal protection from another person’s negligence being stripped away.”
But the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Joe McCord (R-Maryville) says he’s looking for a way to change his legislation to satisfy environmentalists. He says he’s trying only to streamline the permit system for businesses.
“The way it was drafted would prevent individuals from filing nuisance complaints. That’s not the intent,” McCord says. “It’s to try to get all governmental entities to recognize the standards set by the state. We ought to have one standard for these permits.”