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Coal Ash 141 articles

Trial underway to determine liability in TVA coal ash spill litigation

U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan began preliminary matters Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn., regarding the massive coal ash spill that dumped 5.4 million cubic yards of sludge from a TVA storage pond into the Emory River and surrounding community on Dec. 22, 2008. The toxic tidal wave poured from a breached containment pond at the Kingston Plant and affected hundreds of people who made their home in nearby Roane County, Tenn. This trial will determine liability in the case, but will not address damages at this time. According to a news report by the Associated Press, “The Environmental Protection Agency has ... Read More

Two years after spill EPA unsure how to classify toxic coal ash

Two years after an impoundment pond containing toxic coal ash at a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) fossil fuel plant broke, spilling a billion gallons of sludge onto 300 acres of rural east Tennessee, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still isn’t sure whether to recommend that coal ash be classified as a hazardous material. Shortly after the spill, the agency was charged with recommending a classification for the material as part of a federal investigation into the environmental disaster. More than 400 people have filed a total of 55 lawsuits against the TVA. Several hundred more people are said to be ... Read More

Gulf coast oil spill reminiscent of coal ash disaster

Another preventable environmental crisis strikes again, leaving behind a murky forecast for those in its wake. First there was the coal ash spill that dumped a billion gallons of sludge on to homes, property and waterways in east Tennessee. Then came the massive oil spill following an explosion in a rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coastline, a still uncontained problem that is oozing millions of gallons of oil into the ocean wreaking havoc in its wake. The residents of Kingston, Tenn., know the scenario well by now. It’s been 14 months since an impoundment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority ... Read More

Oil spill reminiscent of coal ash disaster

The story is all too familiar: Big business being oblivious to the harm they can cause not just us but the environment in which we live. Just last year BP suggested that an accident leading to a massive crude oil spill was all but impossible. Yet, it happened. A blowout from a riser pipe a mile below the water’s surface is pouring as much as 60,000 barrels of oil into ocean every day. The spill is so massive it is expected to be far larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster, in which about 10 million gallons poured into the ocean. ... Read More

Report shows coal ash makes people sick

People who live near coal-burning power plants have as high as a 1 in 50 chance of developing cancer and have an increased risk of damage to their lungs, kidneys, liver and other organs, according to a 2009 report by environmental legal advocacy group, Earthjustice. Elisa Young, a resident of Meigs County, Ohio, the site of the country’s second-largest concentration of coal-firing plants, says she’s seen the havoc coal waste has wreaked on her family and friends. “I’ve lost neighbors to lung cancer who have never smoked,” she told Huffington Post. “I’ve lost them to brain cancer, breast, throat , ... Read More

Activist documents coal ash dangers in letter to EPA

“Are the people of Perry County, Ala., less valuable than the people in Kingston, Tenn.?” asks Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen. The activist sent a complaint letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson this week in an effort to stop shipments of coal ash recovered from the east Tennessee spill site to a poor, black community in Alabama. Residents near the Uniontown, Ala., landfill say the coal ash is stinking up their town. And they, too, worry that the same toxic sludge that poured down on the community of Kingston causing serious damage and threatening human health, may create ... Read More

TVA says Emory River coal ash cleanup nearly completed

The cleanup effort in east Tennessee following the December 2008 spill of coal ash from a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) impoundment pond is costing more than the utility had expected, but so far the results look promising, says director of the TVA’s cleanup effort, Steve McCracken. Since the cleanup began, the effort has been focused on the Emory River, dredging the bottom of the waterway to keep as much ash as possible from floating downstream. Approximately 70 percent of the river has been dredged and the agency hopes to have the river cleanup completed by May. The spill raised concerns ... Read More

Illinois lawmakers ask White House not to classify coal ash as hazardous

A group of Illinois lawmakers are asking the White House not to classify coal ash as a hazardous material because doing so would cripple their state’s economy. In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the bipartisan group of congressmen expressed concerns that reclassifying the byproduct from coal-firing plants would raise the cost of energy for Illinois consumers. It would also hamper local utilities’ ability to recycle the coal ash in products like cement, concrete and other building materials, a process that the group says generates thousands of jobs in Illinois. Coal ash storage is currently under review ... Read More

Trickle-down effect causing problems for coal ash disposal

It was bad enough when the coal ash impoundment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston, Tenn., plant holding more than a billion gallons of toxic sludge ruptured, sending a wave of coal ash onto a neighboring community and into nearly waterways. Cleaning it up hasn’t been a walk on the beach. One challenge was locating a landfill that would accept the recovered coal ash. The newest issue is finding a company willing to treat the wastewater from that landfill. Coal ash recovered from the Kingston spill is being shipped by train car to Arrowhead Landfill in Perry County, ... Read More

Lawsuit to halt coal ash dumping held up by landfill’s bankruptcy

The residents of Perry County, Ala., were just gearing up to file a lawsuit against Arrowhead Landfill. The landfill had entered into an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to accept coal ash recovered from the east Tennessee spill site, generating millions of dollars and a handful of jobs for the very poor, predominantly black community. But residents argued that the benefits came at too high a price. Coal ash is toxic, containing arsenic and carcinogens that have been linked to serious health problems. To make matters worse, the constant trainload deliveries of coal ash to the landfill were ... Read More