Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Huge environmental disaster in Tennessee - Coal Ash spill

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Marley Green

Date: Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 7:56 PM
Subject: {Virginia Climate Action Network} Huge environmental disaster in Tennessee - Coal Ash spill


There was a huge and terrible environmental disaster in Tennessee yesterday.


The Tennessee Valley Authority, better known as TVA, has a
coal-burning power plant located near Harriman, Tennessee, along
Interstate 40 between Knoxville and Nashville. The stuff that is left
over after TVA burns their coal is called coal ash.

Coal ash contains mercury and dangerous heavy metals like lead and
arsenic - materials found naturally in coal are concentrated in the

TVA has a huge mountain of this coal waste material
stored in a gigantic pile next to their Harriman (Kingston) power
plant, alongside a tributary of the Tennessee River.

On Monday morning Dec. 22 around 1:00 am, the earthen retaining
wall around this mountain of coal ash failed and 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.

This Tennessee TVA spill is over 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, if local news accounts are correct.

*** This is a huge environmental disaster of epic proportions.

To see an amazing aerial video of the spill - the big hunks and chunks in the river are mounds of coal ash:

There is better aerial footage but you have to watch an Applebees
commercial first - go to the link below, then scroll down to the "Most
Popular" section and find the button that says "aerial footage"

The local media are downplaying the spill, but the Nashville newspaper (The Tennessean) has a decent article, posted below.

When I first saw the 300 million gallon Martin County coal sludge
spill in Kentucky in October 2000 I was outraged. I was sure that it
would be a national news story, but it never was, because the coal
companies and local law enforcement blocked the road leading to the
spill and kept the media out. The national media was confused because
they didn't know what "coal sludge" was. And ....the big national
environmental groups didn't do enough to bring media attention to the
Martin County disaster.

Thats not going to happen this time, because we have

1. You Tube

2. Bloggers

3. Digital cameras

4. You!

Please help - we need volunteers to take pictures and video of the
spill and post them on the web. We need first hand accounts and
documentation of the spill. We need letters to the editor. We need
calls and emails to our leaders in Washington and Nashville and
Frankfort and to President-Elect Obama.

Please fwd this email to other concerned people and the news media.

*** There is no such thing as clean coal! Look at the video of this spill.

"Clean Coal" is The Big Corporate Lie.

This horrific disaster in Tennessee can be the turning point in
our nation's struggle to build a new network of clean modern renewable
sources of energy, like wind and solar power - but we have to raise
awareness of this disaster immediately. Thanks for reading.

Here is the Tennessean's coverage:

Flood of sludge breaks TVA dike

Collapse poses risk of toxic ash

By Anne Paine and Colby Sledge • THE TENNESSEAN • December 23, 2008

HARRIMAN, Tenn. — Millions of cubic yards of ashy sludge broke
through a dike at TVA's Kingston coal-fired plant Monday, covering
hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation and putting
environmentalists on edge about toxic chemicals that may be seeping
into the ground and flowing downriver.

One neighboring family said the disaster was no surprise because
they have watched the 1960s-era ash pond's mini-blowouts off and on for


About 2.6 million cubic yards of slurry — enough to fill 798
Olympic-size swimming pools — rolled out of the pond Monday, according
to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

[There are 200 gallons per cubic yard so this is about 500 million gallon - Dave]

Cleanup will take at least several weeks, or, in a worst-case scenario, years.

The ash slide, which began just before 1 a.m., covered as many as
400 acres as deep as 6 feet. The wave of ash and mud toppled power
lines, covered Swan Pond Road and ruptured a gas line. It damaged 12
homes, and one person had to be rescued, though no one was seriously

Much remains to be determined, including why this happened, said
Tom Kilgore, president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

"I fully suspect that the amount of rain we've had in the last
eight to 10 days, plus the freezing weather … might have had something
to do with this," he said in a news conference Monday on the site.

The area received almost 5 inches of rain this month, compared
with the usual 2.8 inches. Freeze and thaw cycles may have undermined
the sides of the pond. The last formal report on the condition of the
40-acre pond — an unlined, earthen structure — was issued in January
and was unavailable Monday, officials said.

Neighbors Don and Jil Smith, who have lived near the pond for
eight years, said that nearly every year TVA has cleaned up what they
termed "baby blowouts."

Ashen liquid similar to that seen on a much larger scale in Monday's disaster came from the dike, they said.

"It would start gushing this gray ooze," said Don Smith, whose home escaped harm. "They'd work on it for weeks and weeks.

"They can say this is a one-time thing, but I don't think people are going to believe them."

The U.S. Coast Guard, EPA, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation were among
agencies that responded to the emergency.

Toxic irritants possible

Coal is burned to produce electricity at the Kingston Fossil
Plant, notable for its tall towers seen along Interstate 40 near the
Harriman exit in Roane County.

Water is added to the ash, which is the consistency of face
powder, for pumping it to the pond. The ash is settled out in that pond
before the sludge is moved to other, drier ponds, Kilgore said.

Coal ash can carry toxic substances that include mercury, arsenic
and lead, according to a federal study. The amount of poisons in TVA's
ashy wastes that could irritate skin, trigger allergies and even cause
cancer or neurological problems could not be determined Monday,
officials said.

Viewed from above, the scene looked like the aftermath of a
tsunami, with swirls of dirtied water stretching for hundreds of acres
on the land, and muddied water in the Emory River.

The Emory leads to the Clinch, which flows into the Tennessee.

Workers sampled river water Monday, with results expected back today, but didn't sample the dunelike drifts of muddy ash.

That could begin today, officials said, and the potential
magnitude of the problem could make this a federally declared Superfund
site. That would mean close monitoring and a deep, costly cleanup
requiring years of work.

"We'll be sampling for metals in the ground to see what kind of
impact that had," said Laura Niles, a spokeswoman for the EPA in

"Hopefully, it won't be as bad as creating a Superfund site, but it depends on what is found."

Stephen Smith, with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in
Knoxville, said those concerned about water and air quality have tried
for years to press for tighter regulation of the ash.

The heavy metals in coal — including mercury and other toxic substances — concentrate in the ash when burned, he said.

"You know where that is now," he said. "It's in that stuff that's all over those people's houses now."

Chemicals and metals from coal ash have contaminated drinking
water in several states, made people and animals sick in New Mexico,
and tainted fish in Texas and elsewhere, according to Lisa Evans, an
attorney with Earthjustice, a nonprofit national environmental law firm
that follows the issue.

"It's discouraging because this is an easy problem to fix," she said.

Ash could be recycled by using it to make concrete and at the very
least should be placed in lined, state-of-the-art landfills, she said.

Plant is still operating

TVA's Kilgore said that chemicals in the ash are of concern, but
that the situation is probably safe. The power plant is still
operating, sending the ash to a larger pond on the site.

"There are levels of chemicals in there that we are concerned
about," Kilgore said. "We don't think there's anything immediate of
danger because most of that's contained, but that's why we have
sampling folks out."

Officials were monitoring a water intake that serves Kingston City
and is only a few miles downstream from the Kingston plant, but said no
problem had been noted there as of Monday afternoon.

The power producer, which oversees the Tennessee River system, had
slowed river flow in the area, releasing less water from key dams, so
the pollution might be better contained for possible cleanup.

TVA has insurance for an event like this, spokeswoman Barbara
Martucci said, but what the cleanup cost is and how much insurance will
pay remains to be determined.

Otherwise, ratepayers in Tennessee could bear much of the costs.
TVA provides virtually all the electricity in the state, along with
parts of six others.

Contact Anne Paine at 615-259-8071 or

Dave Cooper

The Mountaintop Removal Road Show
608 Allen Ct.
Lexington KY 40505
(859) 299 5669

Call for a volunteer presentation in your community!

This is an informational monthly email about mountaintop removal.

To unsubscribe, send a blank email to:

No comments:

Leave a comment

Automatically generated Amazon links

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

The Philosophy of Animal Rights by Tom Regan

The other animals humans eat, use in science, hunt, trap, and exploit in a variety of ways, have a life of their own that is of importance to them apart from their utility to us. They are not only in the world, they are aware of it. What happens to them matters to them. Each has a life that fares better or worse for the one whose life it is.

That life includes a variety of biological, individual, and social needs. The satisfaction of these needs is a source of pleasure, their frustration or abuse, a source of pain. In these fundamental ways, the nonhuman animals in labs and on farms, for example, are the same as human beings. And so it is that the ethics of our dealings with them, and with one another, must acknowledge the same fundamental moral principles.

At its deepest level, human ethics is based on the independent value of the individual: The moral worth of any one human being is not to be measured by how useful that person is in advancing the interest of other human beings. To treat human beings in ways that do not honor their independent value is to violate that most basic of human rights: the right of each person to be treated with respect.

The philosophy of animal rights demands only that logic be respected. For any argument that plausibly explains the independent value of human beings implies that other animals have this same value, and have it equally. And any argument that plausibly explains the right of humans to be treated with respect, also implies that these other animals have this same right, and have it equally, too.

It is true, therefore, that women do not exist to serve men, blacks to serve whites, the poor to serve the rich, or the weak to serve the strong. The philosophy of animal rights not only accepts these truths, it insists upon and justifies them.

But this philosophy goes further. By insisting upon and justifying the independent value and rights of other animals, it gives scientifically informed and morally impartial reasons for denying that these animals exist to serve us.

Once this truth is acknowledged, it is easy to understand why the philosophy of animal rights is uncompromising in its response to each and every injustice other animals are made to suffer.

It is not larger, cleaner cages that justice demands in the case of animals used in science, for example, but empty cages: not "traditional" animal agriculture, but a complete end to all commerce in the flesh of dead animals; not "more humane" hunting and trapping, but the total eradication of these barbarous practices.

For when an injustice is absolute, one must oppose it absolutely. It was not "reformed" slavery that justice demanded, not "reformed" child labor, not "reformed" subjugation of women. In each of these cases, abolition was the only moral answer. Merely to reform injustice is to prolong injustice.

The philosophy of animal rights demands this same answer - abolition - in response to the unjust exploitation of other animals. It is not the details of unjust exploitation that must be changed. It is the unjust exploitation itself that must be ended, whether on the farm, in the lab, or among the wild, for example. The philosophy of animal rights asks for nothing more, but neither will it be satisfied with anything less.

Haiku Disclaimer

This works for me now
Find your own path and never
Take advice from fools

Insprirational Vegan Quotes

1. Animals that live in the wild kill other animals in order to eat. If I also lived in the wild would it still be inhumane to kill an animal to eat?? What about if I raised chickens in my backyard and cultivated their eggs for my breakfast omelet, is this inhumane?
A: Because animal flesh and products are not needed for human nutrition killing and eating them is inhumane in any circumstances. No kind of slavery is humane no matter how well the slave is treated. You can't respect someone and then exploit her for her eggs/milk/honey.

2. Do animal rights moralists take into consideration the domestication of animals i.e. history of farming, farming as the back bone to the establishment of the first civilizations. There’s not much literature about the reasons animals have become a central part of human life?
A: History is no excuse to continue to exploit non humans. Animals are not needed for human nutrition. That is a myth perpetuated by industries which make money exploiting non human animals.

3. Is domestication against animals rights? If so, does that make having a dog or cat or horse inhumane?
A: At this time there are a lot of domesticated animals that need tending. Most domesticated animals are just that. They would not exist as we know them if not for domestication. Breeding animals for pets or for food is unnecessary and inhumane. Adopt animals, have them spayed or neutered. Give them a comfortable home where they can live out their lives without being exploited. With time the numbers of "non-food" and "food" animals will go down and eventually there will be no more domesticated food animals or pets.

Ethical veganism results in a profound revolution within the individual; a complete rejection of the paradigm of oppression and violence that she has been taught from childhood to accept as the natural order. It changes her life and the lives of those with whom she shares this vision of nonviolence. Ethical veganism is anything but passive; on the contrary, it is the active refusal to cooperate with injustice. ~Gary L. Francione

Merely by ceasing to eat meat

Merely by practicing restraint
We have the power to end a painful industry

We do not have to bear arms to end this evil
We do not have to contribute money
We do not have to sit in jail or go to
meetings or demonstrations or
engage in acts of civil disobedience
Most often, the act of repairing the world,
of healing mortal wounds,
is left to heroes and tzaddikim (holy people)
Saints and people of unusual discipline
But here is an action every mortal can
perform--surely it is not too difficult! ~Roberta Kalechofsky of Jews for Animal Rights

The ten commandments of Mother Earth

1. Thou shall love and honor the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.
2. Thou shall keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of its seasons.
3. Thou shall not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.
4. Thou shall give thanks for thy food, to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.
5. Thou shall educate thy offspring for multitudes of people are a blessing unto the Earth when we live in harmony.
6. Thou shall not kill, nor waste Earth's riches upon weapons of war.
7. Thou shall not pursue profit at the Earth's expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.
8. Thou shall not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.
9. Thou shall not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.
10. Thou shall consume material goods in moderation so all may share the Earth's bounty. ~Ernest Callenbach

"This is what passes for "food" in America today: A collection of nutritionally-obliterated, hormonally-enhanced, chemically-adulterated shapes of refined whatever, all hyped up to make them seem like real food when in fact they're just agricultural byproducts devoid of any real nutrition." ~Mike Adams

"I like not eating animals. Animals are our friends and we shouldn't eat them. Animals need us to take care of them and save them. My mom cooks us vegetables and pretend hamburgers and hotdogs and chicken nuggets and they are healthy for you and taste good! I told all my friends 'you should NOT eat animals!' I hit my friend Levi because he was eating a ham sandwich and wouldn't stop. Then mom said that Levi is an animal too and we have to be nice to all animals even if they eat other animals. I said sorry to Levi, but I wish he would not eat animals anymore. I also like not eating animals because my mom says it helps the earth, like recycling." ~Jacob, 6 yrs old

You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.~Anthony Robbins

It only takes a spark
~Daniel Andreas San Diego

Some people are still going to want to eat meat. We do agree though that vegetarianism is a healthier diet.
~David Stroud (of the American Meat Institute)

For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts ;

even one thing befall them: as the one dies, so dies the other. They have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows that the spirit of man goes upward, and the spirit of the beast goes downward to the earth? ~Ecclesiastes iii., 19, 20, 21.

There is no such thing as cruelty free slaughter or humane killing.
No slave is happy no matter what the owner tells you.
Go Vegan NOW!
Do it for the cows that have their babies taken away again and again for milk production.
Do it for the chickens who are de-beaked for egg production.
Do it for the pigs who have to nurse their babies on concrete floors.
Do it for the millions of humans who don't know any better.
Do it for the planet.
Do it for your health.

Do it because there is NO SUCH THING as humane slaughter.~
Judith Barnes

Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals.

~Theodor Adorno

If only I could so live and so serve the world that after me there should never again be birds in cages.
~Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen), author (1885-1962)

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
~Anne Frank

If "rights" exist at all— and both feeling and usage indubitably prove that they do exist —they cannot be consistency awarded to men and denied to animals, since the same sense of justice and compassion apply in both cases.
~Henry Salt, 1892

You ask people why they have deer heads on the wall. They always say, Because it's such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother's attractive, but I have photographs of her.
~Ellen DeGeneres

A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
~Leo Tolstoy

Raw foods create living bodies, and cooked foods create dying bodies
~Sabrina Aird, Grass Root co-owner

You say it’s my personal choice, it’s not a personal choice when you’re ruining my planet and you’re eating my friends
~ Dave Warwak

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites, or women created for men.
~ Alice Walker

Thou Shalt Not Kill
~ The Christian Bible

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy; if the world were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I wake up each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it very hard to plan the day.
~E. B. White

Don’t want to ruin the oceans? Go vegan.
Don’t like the environmental problems of the soy industry? Go vegan.
Don’t like monoculture? Go vegan.
Don’t like the environmental problems of the petroleum industry? Go vegan.
Don’t like greenhouse gas emission? Go vegan.
Don’t like animal exploitation and cruelty? Go vegan.
Want environmental sustainability? Go vegan.
Want to feed the hungry? Go vegan.
Want to save water? Go vegan.
Want to cut air and water pollution? Go vegan.
Want to slow global warming? Go vegan.
Want to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer? Go vegan.
There is no absolutely single personal change that the average person can make that has a better impact on the environment than going vegan.
~Dan Cudahy

Honey is not vegan. It is an animal product, it came from the inside of an animal that produced it, not for you to sweeten your tea, but for a baby bee to live and grow on. Using honey or products made with beeswax are not on the vegan menu.

What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?

~Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived.

How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?

It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless,tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace.

But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches.

No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being.~Plutarch

I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better, it should be abolished. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery, that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty. The whole thing is evil.~Charles Mayo (founder of the Mayo Clinic)

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places.~Leonardo Da Vinci