Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's "clean" coal: never mind that 500 million gallons of toxic sludge headed for the Tennessee River

Is it accurate to call 2.6 million cubic yards of toxic slurry--the by-product of burning coal--containing hazardous levels of mercury, arsenic and lead, "a pond"? It sounds so innocuous, maybe a little Thoreauean, until the dyke breaks and the sludge floods people's homes, leaves toxic residue across the land, and flows downstream to the mighty Tennessee River. The price of relying on the coal industry:

Of course, TVA is going to blame the elements for a failure to "hope for the best, but plan for the worst." Meanwhile, the coal industry wants you to take time out this holiday to remember that they are the cleanest and most affordable option:

Yeah, I can't think of anything more "adorable" than liquefied mercury powder seeping into the watershed.

UPDATE: East Tennessee's R. Neal criticizes the local media for misadvising victims to "boil" their water as if lead were a microbe rather than a toxic metal.

UPDATE: TVA denies knowledge of sudden mass fish-kill in the Clinch River and blames the weather. The Clinch is downstream from the ash "pond" and it flows directly into the Tennessee.

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