MONTEREY, Tenn. — This town has never fully recovered since the last coal mine shut down in 1983.
The population has stagnated. Even large swaths of commercial real estate — prime for restaurants and truck stops — sit empty by Interstate 40 exits.
But it was not only the loss of a major industry that crippled the local economy. For more than 15 years, Monterey city leaders haven’t been able to perform the most basic of government functions: lay the sewer pipe they need.
Because of threats to public health, Monterey, like dozens of other small towns across Tennessee, has been hamstrung by a state moratorium on new sewer connections, blocking business development. The conflict comes as Tennessee is seeing more potent storms, possibly fueled by climate change. FULL STORY HERE