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#3241225 - 05/07/13 11:07 AM TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land
fredfred
8 Point


Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 1785
Loc: crossville, tn

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Boys and girls this ain't good

LINK


by Ben Hall
Investigative Reporter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's state land -- bought with taxpayer money.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates has learned at least one cash-strapped agency is considering leasing mineral rights on protected land that was set aside for the public to enjoy.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is currently negotiating with a coal company to allow coal mining on a wildlife area, as well as an oil company to allow drilling on a wetland.

Until now, state officials have repeatedly rejected energy companies eager for access to state land on which the state owns the mineral rights.

State officials expressed concern about "diminishing the value" of the land and "bad publicity," even though a rough state estimate said Tennessee's mineral rights are worth $500 million.

But Steve Patrick, assistant director with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, said the agency is now considering leases it never has before.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "Is this about the money for TWRA?"

"Well yeah," Patrick responded. "That's certainly what gets your attention. We are a self-funded agency."

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Patrick, "This is controversial even within your department?"

"It is," he admitted.

Bison Exploration Drilling wants access to 200 acres of wetlands in East Tennessee. It has claimed that TWRA would get more than $5.6 million in royalties.

TWRA's real estate specialist wrote to Bison Drilling in January stating, "This is groundbreaking, be a good chance to get in while the state is figuring out what they are doing."

Anne Davis with the Southern Environmental Law Center worries state agencies are too eager to start selling mineral rights.

"When we start drilling on public land we ought to think about where this is going," Davis said.

She is worried the state has changed its stance on mining on public land.

"I'm really concerned that it's a change in policy that seems to have happened behind closed doors without the public being aware of it," Davis said.

The final decision about whether to allow mining on state land is up to the State Building Commission.

Under past governors, it has refused to approve leasing state minerals.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Patrick, "What is the commission saying now?"

Patrick responded, "Well obviously they are saying yes."

"This is a change in policy?" we asked.

"As far as I know, yes," Patrick said.

The State Building Commission just allowed the University of Tennessee to move forward with plans to drill for natural gas on 8000 acres of UT land.

Emails show that, on the day the board discussed the University of Tennessee, Bison Drilling flew someone in from Texas to attend the meeting.

E-mails show he was eager to meet with TWRA officials face to face after months of communicating by e-mail.

TWRA is also negotiating with Crossville Coal to allow the company to mine under the Catoosa Wildlife Management Area.

The 80,000 acres were set aside for hunting, but Crossville Coal wants to expand its idle mine and dig under Catoosa.

TWRA has already granted the company a right of entry to see how much coal is on the wildlife area.

The proposed contract would be worth millions of dollars, but underground coal mining raises concerns about damage to wildlife and groundwater.

For a cash-strapped state, the lure of money may be hard to ignore.

Email: bhall@newschannel5.com

Review emails, documents about state mineral rights

Tell Us What You Think!
On Facebook:
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NC5_BenHall

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@NC5_BenHall


Back to NewsChannel 5 Investigates
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#3241253 - 05/07/13 11:42 AM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: fredfred]
beechnut
12 Point


Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 5005
Loc: DRUMMONDS TN 38023

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A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.
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#3241258 - 05/07/13 11:46 AM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: beechnut]
Football Hunter
Non-Typical


Registered: 10/22/07
Posts: 25481
Loc: Wilson Co/Perry Co

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 Originally Posted By: beechnut


Anymore pics of the girl on the right????????
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#3241269 - 05/07/13 11:55 AM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: fredfred]
Buzzard Breath
8 Point


Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 1641
Loc: East

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This should make the ATV riders happy. More roads would have to be cut and they would get to ride in more places.

Doesn't the Obed River (A Wild & Scenic River) border Catoosa. I would hate to see this polluted due to coal mining. I understand that TWRA needs money, but there's got to be a better way to get it than whore out Catoosa.


Edited by Buzzard Breath (05/07/13 12:01 PM)

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#3241275 - 05/07/13 12:04 PM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: Football Hunter]
BlountArrow
10 Point


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2582
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

content Online
 Originally Posted By: Football Hunter
 Originally Posted By: beechnut


Anymore pics of the girl on the right????????


Amen brother.
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"The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."
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#3241276 - 05/07/13 12:05 PM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: Buzzard Breath]
sgtwebb1
14 Point


Registered: 08/06/00
Posts: 9960
Loc: Ooltewah/Harrison TN, USA

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The Obed goes right thru the WMA.
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#3241277 - 05/07/13 12:06 PM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: BlountArrow]
BlountArrow
10 Point


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2582
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

content Online
I didn't know TWRA was hurting for money. Maybe I'm just out of touch.
_________________________
"The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."
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#3241284 - 05/07/13 12:16 PM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: sgtwebb1]
Diehard Hunter
CRAMP
12 Point


Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 6811
Loc: East Tennessee

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I would truly hate to see this happen. However, I understand the reasoning behind it. Everyone gripes about how much the licenses cost, so the general public obviously won't go for an increase in license cost. I have mentioned a habitat stamp on here a couple of times, and very few people even gave it a second look, less than a handful stated they would support it. Everyone complains there are not enough officers and not enough land.

So, my question to everyone is. How would YOU increase revenue for the TWRA? "Not that way" is not a valid answer.

There was a time in American history when sportsmen would stand up and put their money where their mouth is to protect what we have. Now they sit back and whine about having to spend money.

BTW, many of you are of the drill here, drill now mindset, and have blasted Obama for his energy policy. You do not have the right to change your tune now that it is going to directly affect you. You either want more domestic energy production or you don't. If you do, this is a way to benefit TWRA while meeting your goal. If you don't, then you must be in agreement with Obama's energy policy.

Blast away boys and girls, you can't have it both ways.

BTW, drilling and mining have been going on for decades on North Cumberland WMA and on the properties surrounding Catoosa.
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#3241287 - 05/07/13 12:21 PM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: Diehard Hunter]
BlountArrow
10 Point


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 2582
Loc: SouthEast Tenn

content Online
 Originally Posted By: Diehard Hunter
I would truly hate to see this happen. However, I understand the reasoning behind it. Everyone gripes about how much the licenses cost, so the general public obviously won't go for an increase in license cost. I have mentioned a habitat stamp on here a couple of times, and very few people even gave it a second look, less than a handful stated they would support it. Everyone complains there are not enough officers and not enough land.

So, my question to everyone is. How would YOU increase revenue for the TWRA? "Not that way" is not a valid answer.

There was a time in American history when sportsmen would stand up and put their money where their mouth is to protect what we have. Now they sit back and whine about having to spend money.

BTW, many of you are of the drill here, drill now mindset, and have blasted Obama for his energy policy. You do not have the right to change your tune now that it is going to directly affect you. You either want more domestic energy production or you don't. If you do, this is a way to benefit TWRA while meeting your goal. If you don't, then you must be in agreement with Obama's energy policy.

Blast away boys and girls, you can't have it both ways.

BTW, drilling and mining have been going on for decades on North Cumberland WMA and on the properties surrounding Catoosa.


I think that is a valid question and I'll ponder it, but let me throw it back at you. How would you suggest the TWRA cut costs? There has to be areas that are obviously less fruitful where money would be better spent elsewhere or not spent at all. Any company, agency, big or small, has areas where they essentially "waste" money for one reason or the other. Where are those areas with the TWRA?
_________________________
"The world is so dreadfully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain."
-Ronald Firbank

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#3241289 - 05/07/13 12:23 PM Re: TWRA wants to start mining and drilling our land [Re: Diehard Hunter]
Crappie Luck Moderator
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Registered: 01/29/03
Posts: 61007
Loc: Smith Co.

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How will this effect the hunter's use of the land?

If the effect on public access is minimal, but the financial rewards are great, I say "Go for it". However, if we are going to lose access to large portions of these properties, then they need to replace those lost acres with the money they receive and honor the "No net loss" land agreement.

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