Early TVA memo indicates effort to minimize coal ash disaster

A memo that apparently passed through the hands of several folks at the TVA drafting “talking points” about the Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill of Dec. 22 appears to attempt to minimize the significance of the disaster, according to a report today from the Associated Press.

The memo was apparently sent to the AP by accident, according to their report. They say the memo shows additions and deletions that change more alarming language to tone down the sense of urgency and threat resulting from the coal ash spill.

An example cited by the AP story says the word “catastrophic” was changed to “sudden, accidental release” when describing the spill that flooded more than 300 acres surrounding the energy production plant with toxic coal ash sludge.

While environmentalists are pointing to the memo as evidence that TVA is trying to cover up the seriousness of the situation, TVA representatives say that they were simply trying to present accurate information as they understood it at the beginning of the crisis, the AP reports. As the situation developed, the TVA says it modified its information to upgrade the severity of the situation, the report states.