NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A bill that would take coal mining regulation away from the federal government and put it back in the hands of the state of Tennessee is now headed to the governor.

The measure was sponsored by lawmakers who have coal mines in their districts. They argued that it would speed up the process of granting permits to coal mining companies and bring good-paying jobs to economically distressed rural areas. They also said that Tennessee remains the only state where the federal government still regulates the coal mining industry.

Environmentalists have written to Gov. Bill Haslam and asked him to veto the bill. They say the state won't have the resources to adequately regulate the industry.

Federal laws that protect the environment will still apply if the bill becomes law.

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