Air Quality Ordinance on 3rd Reading

I’m hearing a lot of community support in favor CM Bedne’s proposed air quality ordinance. There is also a concerted state-wide lobbying effort by interests opposed to the bill.

I wrote about the original version of the bill on May 13.

Since then, it has been substituted once and I expect it to be again before the Council meeting on June 7. I think CM Bedne is doing a good job of collecting comments from the Health Department (who implements Nashville’s air quality regulations) and also a good job of working to reduce any unintended consequences.

I haven’t seen the changes that I expect CM Bedne will file tomorrow. But, if the core thrust of the bill remains in place, I will support it. As I wrote a month ago, “The proposed ordinance simply puts the ball in the court of the State Air Pollution Control Board for them to decide whether our existing zoning law will be included in our state air quality standards.” To be more specific, if we pass CM Bedne’s bill, the state then will have to decide whether Nashville’s zoning regulations will become part of Tennessee’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) about air quality standards.

The Metro Council’s lawyer, Mike Jameson, agrees.  In the Analysis (p. 26) for this week’s Council meeting, he writes:

“The proposed ordinance reflects an attempt to amend this portion of Tennessee’s SIP for Davidson County… If this substitute ordinance is passed, subsequent approval by the state’s Air Pollution Control Board would be required for inclusion within the SIP. If approved, the amended SIP must then be submitted to the EPA for approval. The amendment would not be federally enforceable until those two steps were completed.”

If we pass CM Bedne’s bill, it won’t be a negative impact on business and it won’t create another fight between Nashville and the State of Tennessee. It is 100% clear that Nashville is already subordinate to the State of Tennessee and the federal government when it comes to air quality regulation, and it is 100% clear that Nashville has the right to ask to change the regulations that apply inside Nashville.

The bottom line for me is that I do not see where there could be a negative financial impact on Nashville from simply asking the State of Tennessee’s Air Pollution Board to consider a change to Tennessee’s air pollution standards.


Bob Mendes

Bob Mendes represents all of Nashville as a Council-At-Large member of Nashville’s Metro Council. He is Chair of the Council’s Charter Revision Committee, a member of the Metropolitan Audit Committee, and a member of the Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, Rules & Confirmations Committee, and Ad Hoc Affordable Housing Committee. Bob also practices business law at Waypoint Law PLLC. Bob’s complete bio is here. You can follow Bob @mendesbob.