Southern California communities march for safer alternatives to coal-burning

Southern California community members worried about the ill effects from coal-burning mines and power plants are conducting a 100-day national campaign uniting 100 communities in the area urging lawmakers to phase out of coal-based energy and transition to cleaner, renewable sources that would produce more green jobs, according to the Palm Springs (California) My Desert.

As part of the campaign, protestors will march Saturday along Palm Canyon in Palm Springs and ask Congress to “quit coal and other fossil fuels and support a clean energy economy,” according to the report. “It is a major source of air and water pollution and leaves in its wake huge, toxic waste piles of ash.

The protest comes two and a half months after the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston, Tennessee coal ash impoundment failed, dumping 2.2 million pounds of toxic coal ash on to 300 acres of property in rural east Tennessee. Coal ash contains toxins such as arsenic and lead, which contribute to serious health issues such as cancer, liver damage and neurological complications. Residents in the area already have reported experiencing breathing problems since the spill occurred.

The utility is shelling out a million dollars daily to clean up the mess, which destroyed homes and damaged property. Total cleanup costs are expected to ring in between $525 million and $825 million, according to the TVA. The utility also has vowed to convert the coal ash ponds at its Kingston plant to dry ash storage, which will take up to two years to complete.