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January 02, 2009

The Continuing Coal Ash Spill Aftermath

We here at Compass have been on a holiday break until today, but we have been closely watching the terrible aftermath of that coal ash impoundment spill in Tennessee from last week. Thankfully, this tragedy is not getting swept under the rug - there are still plenty of articles being written about the toxins in the ash and the impact on everyone around the spill.

There's also word (noted in the AP article on the TN governor below) that Congress will hold a hearing on the spill next week and that the Senate Environment Committee heard from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) officials and local officials yesterday.

I thought I'd highlight a few good articles on here, so check these out.

NY Times: "Metal levels found high in tributary after spill" - Our friends over at Appalachian Voices have tested the water near the sludge spill and found toxin levels many times higher than those found by the EPA or Tennessee's Department of Environment and Conservation. Sad but true, the EPA and TNDEC have not revealed their full test results yet. In fact, they've only revealed the test results for a spot that, according to this article, is six miles upstream from the sludge site.

Associated Press: "Community's future, vistas clouded by sludge spill"
- A good article because it addresses the impacts to hunters and anglers, as well as talks to a person affected by the Inez, Ky., coal sludge spill in 2000.

USA Today: "Tenn. residents fear impact of sludgy ash spill" - Looks at the toxins and how locals are responding.

LA Times: "After Tennessee ash spill, cleanup and worry"
- A great overview of the entire situation.

Associated Press: "Tenn. gov. promises more oversight of ash ponds"
- Some promising words from Gov. Phil Bredesen:


"Burning fossil fuel for electricity is a dirty business," he said. "Everywhere this happens there are huge ash piles, there are environmental issues. My dream out of all of this is maybe this is an epiphany for TVA and for the country that some things have got to change."


Christian Science Monitor: "Tennessee spill revives coal ash controversy" - This article is a great look at the coal ash situation across the US, including the history of regulations, as magnified by this TN disaster.


This story won't be going away anytime soon - we'll be doing our best to make sure of that. This is a serious issue for the many reasons listed in these articles above and it should not be ignored.

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