Thursday, July 09, 2009

That Road to Hell Sure As Heck Ain't Paved with Bad Effects

What the Tennessee Valley Authority actually intends doesn't matter much when toxic coal ash moves from white affluent communities to poor African American ones:
TVA reportedly considered moving the coal ash to two communities in eastern Tennessee that are predominantly white and with lower poverty levels, but the company sought regulators' approval only for the Georgia and Alabama sites. TVA's announcement regarding the Alabama landfill's selection said the choice was made after an evaluation process involving more than 30 companies.

In a letter to Facing South following publication of our May report, Peyton T. Hairston Jr., TVA's senior vice president for corporate responsibility and diversity, took issue with the story:
To write that TVA has made decisions on where to transport ash from the Kingston coal spill based on the racial composition of a community is simply wrong.
For the record, the story did not say TVA made its disposal decision because of the community's racial composition. But the effect is the same: TVA -- with EPA's approval -- has chosen to move toxic waste from a predominantly white and relatively well-off community in Tennessee to a poor and majority-black community in Alabama.
Does it truly matter whether or not TVA is a racist organization when their actions are effectively prejudiced in consequence?

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