The claim was made during a meeting with residents who say the "cloudy, odd-tasting water" is making their children sick.
Photo Credit: SHUTTERSTOCK
June 21, 2013 - A representative for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told a group of concerned citizens that complaining about water quality could be considered an “act of terrorism,” The Tennessean reports.
Sherwin Smith, deputy director of TDEC’s Division of Water Resources, made the claim during a meeting with residents of Maury County, Tennessee. Organized by State Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, the gathering sought to address complaints by residents that area water was making their children sick. In audio obtained byThe Tennessean, Smith can be heard equating water quality complaints, an act of citizenry, with DHS-defined acts of terrorism:
We take water quality very seriously. Very, very seriously … But you need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.
According to The Tennessean, several residents saw the statement as “an attempt to silence complaints.” One 68-year-old woman who says she “prays” before sipping the “cloudy, odd-tasting water,” felt that Smith’s message was, “Leave us alone. Don’t come back anymore. We’re not going to continue on dealing with whatever problem you may have.” An official TDEC spokesperson says the department is investigating the matter: