The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has agreed to pay $27.8 million to settle claims from more than 800 property owners who suffered damages from a massive 2008 coal ash spill from a fossil fuel containment pond. The spill dumped more than 5 million cubic yards of toxic sludge onto rural countryside and into nearby waterways in Kingston, Tenn.
District Court Judge Thomas Varlan ruled in 2012 that TVA was liable for the spill, and found that if the utility had followed its own policies, the issues that caused the dike to fail would have been addressed and corrected before the environmental disaster occurred.
“This settlement represents the culmination of more than five years of litigation and negotiations,” says Beasley Allen shareholder Rhon Jones, “and through this agreement, those who deserve it can receive compensation from TVA. This is important for every property owner impacted by this terrible tragedy.” Jones is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts section.
TVA is spending $1.2 billion on cleaning and restoring the land damaged by the coal ash spill. The years-long effort is expected to be completed in the spring. Coal ash contains toxic contaminants including arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and other metals, and many have worried what long-term effects the spill will cause to wildlife and even humans living in the area.
TVA has already spent about $80 million to settle more than 200 claims related to the spill, purchasing more than 900 acres from affected property owners. Some of that land will be converted into parks and green spaces with boat launches and walking trails. TVA donated a portion of the property to Roane County along with $43 million to the Roane County Economic Development Foundation for community development. The utility has also agreed to monitor the site for 30 years at a cost of $10 million, and convert its other wet-storage coal ash facilities to dry storage at a cost of $1.5 to $2 billion.
Source: ABC News