July 8, 2012
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop
Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on office, a rottenness begins in his conduct. -Thomas Jefferson
Tennessee Passes Resolution Against Agenda 21-Governor Refuses to Sign
Tennessee House Joint Resolution 587 (HJR 587) denounced “the destructive and insidious nature of UN Agenda 21.” It was passed by Republican legislators over Democratic complaints that it buys into a conspiracy theory. The Resolution was approved, 72-23 in the House and by a 19-11 vote in the Senate. This is a non-binding position statement by the General Assembly, not a law that is implemented. Our Republican Governor, Bill Haslam, allegedly a “conservative Christian,” refused to sign the Resolution. [Link] It is the first Resolution he has refused to sign since he took office in 2010.
When Haslam was Mayor of the City of Knoxville, he hired his former opponent, environmental extremist, Madeline Rogero, as Director of Community Development. While in this position, she applied for the Smart Growth federal grant from Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The grant gave the City of Knoxville $4.3 million and another $2.5 million came from non-profits. The City of Knoxville is now a member of ICLEI(International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives). The ICLEI name has been changed to Local Governments for Sustainability. We are now fighting “Smart Growth,” thanks to our Governor and the new Mayor of the City of Knoxville, Madeline Rogero. [Link]
Why did the Governor refuse to sign a non-binding Resolution? Perhaps the rest of this story will explain the Governor’s stance. Also remember, Governor Haslam’s family owns Pilot Oil/Flying J. Bear with me while I explain the technical details as clearly as possible so one can understand the full ramifications of the corruption with these alphabet soup environmental groups, the developer of a Waste Water Treatment Plant, an intermodal railroad facility, the legislators of Tennessee, and our Governor, Bill Haslam. This is a huge story with a large number of interwoven players. Then we’ll get to the core of this rotten mess which exists in the State of Tennessee and probably in every other State in the Union.
The Bottom Line – Woody Degan for State Senate, District 32
Woody Degan is running for Tennessee State Senate Seat, District 32. In supporting Woody Degan, you’ll not only be helping the citizens of Tennessee, but those of the entire United States to save our private property and water rights. After you read this story, please send a donation to help Woody fight the battle for all of us and to unseat the incumbent, Mark Norris, who is certainly not representing the rights of the Citizens of Tennessee.
This story has UN Agenda 21 and state control of our water and personal property rights written all over it. All water in the state of Tennessee belongs to the citizens. A bunch of good-old-boy politicians, environmental groups, and land developers have colluded to change the law where all water in Tennessee would be controlled by the State. The land of the Wolf River Airport has been owned by the Degan family for two generations. The airport property is threatened because of the developer of a Waste Water Treatment Plant for the City of Piperton and an intermodal rail yard being developed by Norfolk Southern Railroad. The developer bypassed applying for and receiving proper permits, bypassed state environmental laws, and failed to abide by the federal Clean Water Act.
Key to Alphabet Soup Environmental Groups
TDEC – Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation
TWRA – Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
TWRF – Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation
TSMP – Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program
AMEC – American Engineering Consulting (Ireland owned)
TDOT – Tennessee Department of Transportation
WWTP – Waste Water Treatment Plant
CWA – Clean Water Act
WRC – Wolf River Conservancy
Tennessee Water Rights
Tennessee Water Law, (T.C.A. 69-3-102 (a) (b), states, “waters of the state are held in trust for the citizens..”). So, the citizens of Tennessee own the rivers, the lakes, the streams, the aquifers, the channels, the spillways, every drop…yes, all of Tennessee’s water. We own it. That’s what the law states. So why then is the state selling our streams and our water rights for $200 per linear square foot through the Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program(TSMP) “In Lieu Fee” program? The Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires “No Net Loss” regarding mitigation issues. Easy enough. Whatever natural resources are damaged due to development, that same amount MUST be replaced (mitigated). Thus, the “No Net Loss” standard. An “In Lieu Fee” is substituted for the “No Net Loss” requirement in the CWA, when the stated requirement cannot be met, or would be quite difficult to satisfy.
In other words, if you pay a fee “In Lieu Of” repairing the stream you are damaging with the development, the Tennessee Stream Mitigation Foundation is supposed to use those funds to recreate a similar water way to replace the one which was lost. This means, “No Net Loss.” According to the Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program (TSMP) they have made great strides to provide mitigation to offset stream impacts permitted through §404/401 of the federal Clean Water Act. These “Mitigation measures” are supposed to include:
1. Restoration of degraded stream reaches and/or “riparian zones”; (those areas that surround water bodies in the watershed and are composed of moist to saturated soils, water-loving plant species and their associated ecosystems)
2. New (relocated) stream channels;
3. Removal of pollutants from and hydrologic buffering of storm water runoff; and
4. Any other measures which have a reasonable likelihood of increasing the resource value of a state water.
In layman’s terms, this is saying it is supposed to be nearly impossible for a developer to destroy a stream. However, the law is set up to where the developer is to try to build around the stream first. If that doesn’t work, they’re supposed to engineer and find a newly approved path to direct the stream with minimal damage. Lastly…and here’s the caveat, if that doesn’t work, the developer writes a check and destroys the stream. In other words, any developer can simply buy the stream through “In-Lieu-Fee” rather than fixing or mitigating the problem he’s made, and therefore, destroy the stream for development purposes. The check is supposed to go to repairing a stream somewhere else, but once it is written, the company is off the hook. They have no responsibility in terms of correcting the stream or mitigating any downstream damage to other property owners, as in the case of the Wolf River Airport.
The money goes to the TSMP and they are supposed to either repair the damaged stream or find another stream that is in need of repair within close proximity to this development and use the monies for same. Every foot of stream damaged is to be replaced with a foot of stream. This is “NO NET LOSS” required by the Clean Water Act. The Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program began in 2002 and so far $56 million has gone into the program so developers could do what they want with a stream.
What is happening in Tennessee is, rather than doing “No Net Loss,” they’re paying this “In Lieu Fee.” The TSMP is just taking a fee rather than doing all of the work they’re supposed to do according to the Federal Rules of Mitigation and the Federal Clean Water Act. When wetland mitigation, which is legal, came down to the states in the 2002 Memorandum of Understanding from the Federal Government, it was mandated that it be under the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, (TWRA). The Agency was to establish a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation (TWRF) and this foundation is to administer the mitigation program.
In addition, developers can purchase “mitigation credits” which are basically an acre a piece, and cost $40,000. These credits are not readily available to the smaller developers who couldn’t afford three or four acre purchases of these credits. However for the big developers, the price is not outrageous. In the case of Wolf River Airport, there are two streams upstream from the airport that both come down and converge on the airport property. They are about a mile to a mile and a half away. With the curvature of the streams, or the natural bends of the streams, each is about three miles of stream.
Norfolk-Southern and William Adair bought 4900 ft., and in another case, 3600 ft. of stream and paid money into a bank account for causing damage and tearing up those streams. Rather than mitigate properly and consider downstream use, or downstream impacts, as called for under the Federal Rules of Mitigation, the TSMP just put the money in an account. The key here in Tennessee is that they took the money and put it into an account that was not consistent with the 2002 agreement they had reached with the federal government under the Clean Water Act when Mitigation came to this state. What they did was they put that money in a private bank account off the books of the state of Tennessee. That bank account currently has $13 Million in it, and has had over $56 million run through it. The TSMP takes the money, the land, and the water through the Mitigation Banks. The non-profits, for-profits, and other third party organizations run the Mitigation Banks. The Corps of Engineers is doing their books (reports) and filings in order to keep it off of the books of the state, bypassing the CLEAN WATER ACT. This is against both state and federal law.
They couldn’t have it on the books because IN LIEU FEE is not in the regulations or the law and doesn’t meet the federal mitigation requirements of NO NET LOSS. All of this is to get around the federal CLEAN WATER ACT, and Tennessee’s own water laws. This is an illegal process of taking money and putting it into an off-the-books bank account and nobody knows what they’re doing with it. TSMP even put $5.4 million into Fannie Mae–outside of state fiscal oversight–and they’re totally unregulated!
There’s no cap on how much nature these developers can tear up. In the Wolf River Airport case, the developers bought 4600 ft. of one stream and 3600 feet of another. However, there are three miles of each stream, and they’re tearing up the entire two streams all the way to the Wolf river.
Mitigation is supposed to rectify any downstream impacts, but as you’ll see in this story, it is simply not happening. Codifying (to reconcile the law and incorporate it into the law) the “In Lieu Fee” and “No Net Loss,” is the official stated goal of mitigation.
In fact, an amendment was even removed from SB2211 in the House that would have made downstream impacts a more significant issue. We’ll get to SB2211 and HR2349 later in this tome.
In Part 2, we’ll discuss the Cast of Characters.
© 2012 Kelleigh Nelson – All Rights Reserved
Kelleigh Nelson has been researching the Christian right and their connections to the left, the new age, and cults since 1975. Formerly an executive producer for three different national radio talk show hosts, she was adept at finding and scheduling a variety of wonderful guests for her radio hosts. She and her husband live in Knoxville, TN, and she has owned her own wholesale commercial bakery since 1990. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Kelleigh was marketing communications and advertising manager for a fortune 100 company in Ohio. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she was a Goldwater girl with high school classmate, Hillary Rodham, in Park Ridge, Illinois. Kelleigh is well acquainted with Chicago politics and was working in downtown Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention riots. Kelleigh is presently the secretary for Rocky Top Freedom Campaign, a strong freedom advocate group.