Vistas and Pollution


Pollution - Vistas and Quality of Life

By: Pat Hunter

Pollution travels for miles and miles and miles. An article in the Knoxville News Sentinel captioned, "Expert says pollution diminishes mountain vistas" informed readers that pollution emitted by TVA coal-fired power reduces visibility in the "state’s western mountains by 80 percent in the summer." A lawsuit filed by North Carolina aims to force the Tennessee Valley Authority to cut its emissions. According to the article, "North Carolina contends the emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury drifts across the state border and hurts air quality and the state’s economy."

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) allows polluters to hang up their shingle in our community even though Loudon County continues to violate federal ozone and fine particulate matter regulations; go figure! 

Recently, the Loudon County Air Quality Task Force (AQTF) decided not to take a stand, and to request a permit hearing for English owned Tate & Lyle, and Tate & Lyle DuPont. Tate and Lyle would purportedly reduce its overall hazardous air pollutants while increasing its Acetaldehyde emissions. The air quality task force seemed to think that since the increase in Acetaldehyde was not significant that it would not take a stand in requesting a permit hearing.

As I recall, the Loudon County Air Quality Task Force was created by local government at the urging of Loudon County Economic Development Agency (EDA) to squelch opposition when polluters permits came up for renewal by TDEC, and to look into air quality issues.  The polluters were getting tired of hearing from local residents complaining about the pollution, and odorous emissions from nearby polluting plants, at permit time. It seems like the air quality task force has come full circle. The task force is comprised of the three biggest polluters (Tate & Lyle (A.E. Staley), Viskase, Kimberly Clark (Trigen Biopower), local county (Loudon County), and two  cities (Loudon and Lenoir) government officials, TDEC, and three citizens appointed by local government, and one physician. The task force serves in an advisory capacity to local government.    

For more information about Acetaldehyde

(Note: Pollution is impacting vistas as shown in the pictures above. The pictures are vistas of the Cherokee National Forest overlooking Indian Boundary.)