UPDATE: Huge Environmental Disaster in Tennessee

Read below for the full story. Here is an update from our friends at United Mountain Defense

“Dear folks,   (Please repost this email to blogs or news sites)
Members of United Mountain Defense traveled today down to Harriman, TN to learn more first hand about the impacts of the coal ash pond failure.  We traveled on Swan Pond Rd visiting local residents and passing out information about the chemicals that may be present in the drinking water.  Begining at 3pm Dec 23, 2008 TVA officials began to visit all of the houses just prior to our visit advising residents to boil their drinking water before consuming it for the next 5 days.  Unfortunately TVA did not inform anyone about the reasons for needing to boil the water and any chemicals that may be present in their water.  The city of Harriman was working 24 hours a day to install a new water pipe in order to provide these residents with cleaner water.  Their current water source was a large spring which may have been contaminated by the spill. 
We also met a man who had been vomitting for the past 12 hours after drinking a couple of pots of coffee made from the tainted water.  We advised him to go to the hospital.
The corporate media has been reporting that affected citizens were being housed in a local motel, but we met many citizens who had spent the last two nights without electricity or gas heat in 27 F weather.  A source shared information that TVA knew that the coal ash dam had been leaking for months now.  We visited approximately 40 households many of which had not recieved any information other than what they could figure out from the minute long television segments or an isolated phone call from the water or gas utility.  TVA police were limiting access to Swan Pond Rd as utility crews were actively working on the roadway. 
United Mountain Defense is actively creating a plan of action to deal with this issue.  We plan to go back down to Harriman tomorrow.  The work is seeming to fall into a few catagories at this point.
We want to get more video, get more water samples from wells, springs, faucets, and sludge puddles.  We are going to get more familiar with the local area and resources.  We want to meet more locals, pass out info, and set up protests.  Any suggestions that you have would be greatly appreciated.  If you are able to test water samples for heavy metals or other specilized water testing please let us know.  We also have an updated list of demands below for TVA since they have been so naughty.  
Check out the Santa Protest Videos  http://dirtycoaltva.blogspot.com/
Visit our website at www.unitedmountaindefense.org
Feel free to send checks for copies, paper, gas and general support funds to
United Mountain Defense
P.O. Box 20363
Knoxville, TN 37920
Or go to www. United Mountain Defense.org  to pay on the Paypal account
Or at the PayPal account @  https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=i7SeayH1xgHLmWLkgIXhg5z7CJJJan02PVOxEqHK_Af_MB9CZiWV-juGCcS&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f9fecf49521b3f5af727cc8f9db6c1fec0342a4f411eb2d06  
Thank you so much,  matt landon full time volunteer staff person United Mountain Defense “


On Monday, 12/22, a giant spill of coal ash slurry broke from a retention pond in Northern Tennessee. Read the post below from my friend Dana wrote. Worth checking out also is this video of the venerable RFK Jr. Talking about the evils of MTR. This spill is one of them. There’s no such thing as Clean Coal.




TVA’s Coal Ash Sludge Pond Bursts

Update (Thanks Dave Cooper): This Tennessee TVA spill is over 40-48 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, if local news accounts are correct.  This is a huge environmental disaster of epic proportions; approximately 500 million gallons of nasty black coal ash flowed into tributaries of the Tennessee River – the water supply for Chattanooga TN and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. We’re “lucky” it was sludgy and slow moving, or thousands could have died.  Click here to see an amazing aerial video of the spill – the big chunks in the river are mounds of coal ash.


Suprisingly, the industry still says that coal will be “clean” if we find out how to sequester the carbon– here is more terrible proof they are wrong. On Monday, 39 groups, including our friends with the Citizens Coal Council and The Alliance for Appalachia banded together to ask President-Elect Obama to overturn Bush’s recent attempts to de-regulate coal ash even more.

In some twist of grim irony, the night before these groups sent out their demand for increased regulation of coal ash, 4 to 6 feet of toxic coal ash and ice cold slurry burst out of a faulty TVA containment pond in Eastern Tennessee and destroyed 12 homes, 400 acres, and wrecked a train; you can read more about it in the Knoxville News Sentinel. This break isn’t the first terrible sludge dam disaster. It is a huge tragedy, and we won’t know for years how the mercury, arsenic, and other toxic heavy metals like beryllium and cadmium commonly found in coal ash will have impacted the local community and wildlife.

Coal ash is what is leftover when you burn coal. Coal ash is an enormous problem throughout the US. It is more radioactive than nuclear waste, according to Scientific American and is under-regulated. It is made into concrete, drywall, and as a road building material. People living near coal ash dumps have been estimated to have up to 900 times the national cancer rates.

I might hazard a guess that that cancer figure just increased even more in eastern Tennessee.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s