environment | Nashville Public Radio


Sergio Martínez-Beltrán / Nashville Public Radio

Complaints of longer wait times and crowded rivers around the launches used by boaters and kayakers have created conflict among commercial outfitters and individuals.

But a law passed to unclog the ramps is already creating some concerns.

Brian Stansberry / via Wikicommons

It's been a decade since the Kingston Coal Ash Spill became the worst disaster of its kind in U.S. history. More than 1 billion gallons of the byproduct — made by burning coal to produce electricity — poured out over hundreds of acres in Roane County.

Now the workers tasked with cleaning up the massive mess are suing the company that hired them. Hundreds have been sickened and dozens have died.

WPLN / File

And then it was a Wednesday.

A marathon 7-hour meeting of the Metro Council forced members to flip their calendars from Tuesday night to the next morning, after more than 100 residents spoke during public hearings on an array of controversial subjects.

Here’s (some of) what happened, and how the council voted, on high-interest matters.

Jay Shah / WPLN

Nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon atoms, thousands of times smaller than a single human hair. They are stronger and lighter than steel, more conductive than copper and have thermal properties that are competitive with diamonds.

Efficient and low cost carbon nanotubes would usher in a quiet revolution. The supermaterial has applications with nearly every piece of technology that an average person uses. Touch-screens, computer chips, and even water-filters could benefit from nanotubes.

Nick Eshuis via Flickr


Rutherford County is opening a special court, starting this week, to streamline how the county deals with environmental issues.

Six departments will refer their citations to the court, including Fire and Rescue, Building Codes, Animal Control, Solid Waste, Engineering and Emergency Management.

Davidson County Clerk

State lawmakers are considering a proposal that might mean the end of vehicle emissions testing in Tennessee.

Critics say the tests today are an unnecessary hassle and expense for car owners. But stopping them is not going to be simple.

Amy Eskind / WPLN

In an industry dedicated to beautifying, hair salons have been unwittingly degrading the environment.

Chemicals are poured down the drain and enter the water supply, and waste bins are filled to the brim with bottles and tubes of hair products and foils, which end up in a landfill.

Now, two hair salons in Nashville are cutting waste through a program by Green Circle Salons, a young company in Toronto that is attempting to help the industry reduce waste.

Cumberland River
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

A coalition of Tennessee groups has secured the backing of high-profile Republican lawmakers on a $35 million proposal to protect water quality, farmland and Civil War sites.

Nashville emissions by year
Livable Nashville Committee

To become the “greenest city in the Southeast” — as Mayor Megan Barry says it — Nashville will need to increase recycling, add solar panels atop government buildings, and plant 500,000 trees.

Joelton natural gas pipeline
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Busloads of concerned residents, along with elected officials, are expected in downtown Nashville on Tuesday to speak at a hearing about air pollution. Some hope the meeting will slow down controversial projects related to natural gas pipelines in Joelton and Antioch.