This is a blog post from Bruce Nilles, director of the Sierra Club's National Coal Campaign.
Today there is sad news out of Roane County, Tenn.: A retention pond at the Kingston coal-fired steam plant burst, sending more than 524 million gallons of coal fly ash and water into the nearby town of Harriman and Watts Bar Lake. One man was injured when his home was swept off its foundation, and the mudslide also affected 15 other homes.
Reports are that the rush of mud, ash and water now covers 400 acres and is several feet deep in some areas – this coal ash spill is also many times more massive than the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The cleanup is expected to last weeks, but some lives have already been altered forever - and the full environmental impact is not yet known. Fly ash is known to contain numerous toxic chemicals and it’s being reported that some of the spill made it into the Tennessee River – a water supply source for the city of Chattanooga as well as people in Kentucky and Alabama.