NRDC Counters Coal Industry Boycott of Tennessee

Calls on its 1.2 million members and activists to support Tennessee tourism and Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) Appalachia Restoration Act

Washington (August 6, 2009) –The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the nation’s largest and most influential environmental organizations, is calling upon its 1.2 million members and activists to support Tennessee’s tourism industry in response to a recent boycott targeting the state by the coal industry. NRDC is urging all members and activists to visit Tennessee.

The coal industry launched a boycott of Tennessee tourism following the introduction of the Appalachia Restoration Act by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). The bill would effectively ban mountaintop removal coal mining which is the most destructive form of mining. The coal industry has taken aim at Tennessee’s tourism industry by asking miners to cancel vacations to some of the state’s most visited attractions, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood, an enterprise of Tennessee native Dolly Parton.

“We are now calling on our members to stand up to the bullying tactics of the coal industry and to support Tennessee’s economy,” said Frances Beinecke, President of Natural Resources Defense Council. “On behalf of NRDC, and our 1.2 million members and activists, we commend Senator Lamar Alexander for his leadership and we will continue to support his home state and its irreplaceable natural resources.”

NRDC is encouraging its supporters to contact Tennessee chambers of commerce, visit the state’s myriad tourist destinations and support Tennessee’s economy. NRDC aims to offset the coal boycott by asking supporters, including more than 100,000 members in the southeast, to visit Tennessee.

“We’re certain that all of NRDC’s members recognize that the Appalachian Mountains are a diverse, ecological biogem with remarkable wildlife and natural resources that must be protected from destructive mountaintop coal mining,” added Beinecke. “There is clearly a direct connection between the health of Tennessee’s mountains and the health of its tourism industry and economy. These natural resources are the backbone of economic growth in the state.”

NRDC action alerts are effective tools that have inspired more than 10 million people to take action on various environmental issues around the world. NRDC is encouraging its members to visit Tennessee’s Department of Tourism website at to book trips to the Volunteer State.