Clean Coal in Action (And see item below)
CHAPEL HILL, NC-A December 22 flood of toxic coal sludge--enough
to fill 798 Olympic-size swimming pools--in Tennessee
demonstrates the dangers of burning coal and underscores the
need for stringent regulation of coal waste, according to the
Southern Environmental Law Center.
"This holiday disaster shows that there really isn't such a
thing as a clean coal plant," said Chandra Taylor, staff
attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. "From
mountaintop removal mining to smokestacks spewing soot and smog
to ash ponds full of toxins, coal power is dirty--plain and
simple. Nobody wants to find coal in their Christmas stocking,
let alone coming through their home and polluting their river."
The coal sludge from a December 22 dike break at Tennessee
Valley Authority's Kingston coal-fired plant on a tributary of
the Tennessee River covered approximately 400 acres, damaged 12
homes and contained toxins--mercury, arsenic, and lead among
others--that could seep into the ground and flow downriver.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 2.6
million cubic yards of coal slurry rolled out of a waste pond
Monday and cleanup may take weeks or even years.
"The United States Environmental Protection Agency should
immediately establish national safeguards for the disposal of
coal wastes and enforceable regulations," said Taylor. "At a
minimum, these safeguards should include siting restrictions,
structural requirements and long-term financial assurance to
clean up any resulting pollution."
Note to editors: Video of the break can be viewed at
Founded in 1986, SELC is the only non-profit regional
organization dedicated to protecting the native forests,
wetlands, air and water quality, wildlife habitat and rural
landscapes in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Tennessee and Virginia. SELC works in partnership with more than
100 diverse groups on legal advocacy, policy reform and public
education to achieve lasting environmental protections.