Residents ask judge to halt TVA’s cleanup efforts

More than two dozen residents of the east Tennessee community affected by the December 2008 coal ash spill are asking a federal judge to halt the Tennessee Valley Authority’s cleanup efforts until more environmental studies and oversight have been performed, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. Residents of the area are concerned the TVA is “recklessly forging ahead with a cleanup plan” that will cause the 300 acres of rural property to “sustain even greater environmental damage from preventable contamination, exposure and migration of coal ash through air, land and water.”

This is the sixth federal lawsuit filed against the TVA as a result of the utility’s coal ash pond breach last December that flooded an east Tennessee community with more than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge. Not only did the massive spill destroy houses and damage property, it also poured into the neighboring Emory River. Coal ash contains toxic material such as arsenic, lead, barium, manganese and chromium, which can be harmful to human health.

This latest lawsuit against the utility claims the TVA “submitted a vague, misleading and piecemeal environmental assessment and remediation plan which, in significant places, massaged the data and blatantly removed to avoid real and appropriate vigorous scrutiny.”

The TVA claims that it has been open about its cleanup efforts by posting updates on its Web site. A U.S. magistrate judge has set a hearing on the issue for April 29th.