Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Clean Coal Update: Monday's Toxic Ash Slide In Eastern Tennessee

Sometimes the synchronicity that takes place in this world is absolutely amazing! Over the past day or so, I had been working on and published here a sort of exposé on the myth of clean coal; this, in response to a letter that appeared in the Northwest Arkansas Times on December 9, which propagated the myth of clean coal. The letter was authored by Paul Chodak, the President and Chief Operating Officer at SWEPCO in Shreveport. This afternoon, while browsing some of my favorite websites, I stopped at the Democracy Now site and came upon one of today's leading headlines, which reads, "Spill at Tennessee Coal Plant Creates Environmental Disaster." The following paragraph came after the headline:

"Parts of Tennessee remain buried under toxic sludge today after a major disaster at a coal plant. A forty-acre pond containing toxic coal ash has collapsed, spilling out millions of gallons of coal ash. Environmentalists say the spill is more than thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez, but the story has received little national attention. Greenpeace is calling for a criminal investigation."

The spill, reportedly occurred on Monday when a forty-acre pond containing highly-toxic coal ash collapsed. An estimated 2.6 million cubic yards of coal ash spilled out of its containment area. Approximately 400 acres of land is now buried under some six feet of dangerous sludge. Homes and roads are buried under the toxic mixture and reportedly, some of the sludge has made its way into the Emory River, a tributary of the Tennessee River, which provides water to municipalities and serves as drinking water to millions of people downstream in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.

The spill, which occurred just west of Knoxville at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, Tennessee, a plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), has received almost no attention in the national media. Similar disasters, which have taken place during recent years and decades in Appalachia, also received little national media attention. Could it be that vital information is being withheld from the public in order to allow the coal industry's "clean coal" propaganda to proceed without any serious debate? If so, the news media is seriously failing in its responsibility to keep the public informed on vital issues.

One thing is for sure: The American people need to know about this recent disaster. There can be no real debate about a national energy policy when the public knows nothing about this dark side of the clean coal myth.

Here are a couple of links for more information on this coal-ash spill:

Click here for a link to Democracy Now's coverage in text and streaming video.

Here is more information from the TVA's own website (includes flyover video footage at the bottom of the page).

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