Quantcast

BREAKING: TVA Liable for Massive Tenn. Coal Ash Spill

Energy

Waterkeeper Alliance

By Donna Lisenby

Watauga Riverkeeper Donna Lisenby takes water samples on December 27, 2008 while paddling between giant ash bergs created by the 1 billion gallon TVA Kingston coal ash spill into the Emory River in Tennessee. Photo credit: John Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeper.

Waterkeeper Alliance salutes today's ruling by federal district court Judge Thomas Varlan stating that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was negligent in its conduct and will be held liable for damages caused by their massive coal ash spill into the Emory River and the surrounding community of Harriman, Tennessee on Dec. 22, 2008.

This ruling is an important victory for the people and the waterway that were devastated by this preventable tragedy when a 70 foot tall dam catastrophically and suddenly failed at 1 a.m., sending more than 1 billion gallons of toxic coal ash from TVA's Kingston coal fired power plant into the surrounding community and the Emory River.

Varlan ruled today that the spill was caused by a combination of TVA's dike design, continued wet coal ash storage at the plant and geological conditions.

"Had TVA followed its own mandatory policies, procedures and practices, the subsurface issues underlying the failure of North Dike would have been investigated, addressed and potentially remedied before the catastrophic failure of December 22, 2008," said Varlan.

This case has national significance not only because it is the largest coal ash spill in the history of the U.S., but because there are 1,000 more coal ash ponds at coal fired power plants across the nation. As illustrated in the video below by Alexandra Cousteau of Blue Legacy, coal ash is toxic to waterways and aquatic life because it contains a vast array of heavy metals and other pollutants:

In order to protect communities from toxic coal ash, the U.S. EPA released new rules to regulate the waste but they have been stalled by legislative interference in Congress. A handful of Senators working for the benefit of the polluting coal industry is seeking to remove the U.S. EPA's federal authority to regulate coal ash with the rotten new Senate Bill 3512.

Let Judge Varlan's ruling inspire you to take action to defeat Senate Bill 3512. Join Waterkeeper Alliance and Alexandra Cousteau to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act in Washington, DC on Thursday, Sept. 13.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit EcoWatch’s CLEAN WATER ACT and COAL pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Aerial assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage in Connecticut. Dannel Malloy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.

Read More Show Less
Giant sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park, California. lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.

Read More Show Less
Vera_Petrunina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Wudan Yan

In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."

Read More Show Less
Volunteer caucasian woman giving grain to starving African children. Bartosz Hadyniak / E+ / Getty Images

By Frances Moore Lappé

Food will be scarce, expensive and less nutritious," CNN warns us in its coverage of the UN's new "Climate Change and Land" report. The New York Times announces that "Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
British Airways 757. Jon Osborne / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Vaughan

Two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change, polling has found.

Read More Show Less
Climate Week NYC

On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.

Read More Show Less

By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans

Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.

Read More Show Less