Friday, December 26, 2008

TVA's #1 Disaster Priority: Keep the Coal Flowing

Can I get a witness? How about Christian Grantham:
What it appears TVA is focusing more on (and you can see this in their own online accounts, news reports and releases) is clearing the way for more coal to reach the plant. The troubling fact that TVA is making a calculated decision to use their assets to clear the way for more coal rather than using 100% of their assets to prevent further ecological damage is noted.
I would even go further than Christian has and appeal to Naomi Klein's "shock doctrine" to argue that the disaster provides TVA the opportunity to drive out residents who face precarious conditions, to acquire swaths of local neighborhoods under duress, and to capitalize new transportation infrastructure to bring in more coal, and either transport or store higher levels of toxic wastes.

There is minimal threat to TVA's position here. The silence of Tennessee's elected officials indicates to me that TVA is actually in the cat bird's seat, and they are in little danger of being held accountable for these events. I fully expect Senators Corker and Alexander (as well as Governor Phil Bredesen) to get behind a new initiative under the pretense of clean-up to convert and to expand TVA's plant and political power in Roane County.

I'm not seeing any evidence so far that community leaders and neighborhood organizations there have the power themselves to overcome this disaster and to hang on against TVA and non-regulating government interests. The wild card is the environmentalist community; are they willing to contest the coming TVA expansion and the consolidation of their influence?


  1. God forbid we should stand in the way of "CLEAN COAL."


  2. In the early morning hours of December 22 life for many in Harriman Tennessee changed forever. An earthen dam which held back, by some estimated, 500 million gallons of sludge laden with coal ash from the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) power plant. Homes were destroyed, land and water contaminated. This dam according to TVA spokesman was "inspected regularly"
    So too is the sludge dam above Marsh Fork Elementary in Raleigh County WVa. The only difference is that the dam that hovers above the children each day in school is that it holds 2.8 BILLION gallons (over 5X what the TVA dam held), and that estimate is from old numbers attained before the coal company increased the sludge impoundments size by over 6 acres without a permit.
    I ask why worry, its "inspected regularly" and that seems to satisfy most.
    My prayers to those in Harriman