“Clean-water advocacy groups are asking state officials to postpone new water permits until after coronavirus orders have been lifted here to ensure the public has a say on projects that affect the “lives and lands of Tennesseans.” These permits include permissions to pollute or to alter a stream, river, lake, or wetland.
State officials can now legally hold meetings electronically. But members of the Tennessee Clean Water Network (TCWN) and more say public input is vital to decisions that allow permits under the federal Clean Water Act. They want this pause, specifically, because some members of the public may not get their voices heard.
The groups say if a meeting can be streamed live, it may not be available to everywhere as “most of Tennessee’s rural areas do not have broadband internet access and would be unable to participate.””