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RE: E-M:/ RE: / Impacts of coal burning in TN -- ash retention pond failure

On the WBIR website, there are now 7 out of the 15 most popular videos related to the mudslide.  There were at least 15 houses that had to be evacuated and one house was crushed, sending one man to the hospital.  There is a video showing dead fish lining the shore in the vicinity of the mudslide.
Perry Godwin
Head Physics Lab Technician
Lansing Community College
5400 - Science Department,
411 North Grand Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933-1215
Work: 517-483-9653
Cell: 517-927-2155
Email: godwip@lcc.edu

From Harris, Craig <Craig.Harris@ssc.msu.edu>
Sent Tue 12/23/2008 8:11 PM
To Anne Woiwode <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject E-M:/ RE: / Impacts of coal burning in TN -- ash retention pond failure

this is getting a little distant from michigan, but for those interested in a prequel of the harriman (kingston) disaster, see the book "everything in its path" by kai erikson, a study of a similar retention pond failure in west virginia in 1972 . . .
craig k harris
department of sociology
michigan agricultural experiment station
national food safety and toxicology center
institute for food and agricultural standards
michigan state university

From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Anne Woiwode
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:43 AM
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: E-M:/ Impacts of coal burning in TN -- ash retention pond failure

Folks --


In Michigan, where much of our electricity comes from coal, there is growing awareness about a lot of the consequences of coal.  Here is a new one: yesterday in Harriman, TN, a wall for a retention pond for ash collapsed, covering 400 acres as deep as 6 feet at 1 a.m. in the morning with an ashy sludge.


Dave Cooper who has been doing volunteer presentations around the country for years on Mountain Top Removals (http://www.mountainroadshow.com/) passed along news and web links that show the impact.  Excerpts below:



The Tennessee Valley Authority, better known as TVA, has a coal-burning power plant located near Harriman, Tennessee, along Interstate 40 between Knoxville and Nashville. The stuff that is left over after TVA burns their coal is called coal ash. Coal ash contains mercury and dangerous heavy metals like lead and arsenic - materials found naturally in coal are concentrated in the ash. TVA has a huge mountain of this coal waste material stored in a gigantic pile next to their Harriman

(Kingston) power plant, alongside a tributary of the Tennessee River.


On Monday morning Dec. 22 around 1:00 am, the earthen retaining wall around this mountain of coal ash failed and approximately 500 million gallons of nasty black coal ash flowed into tributaries of the Tennessee River - the water supply for Chattanooga TN and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. This Tennessee TVA spill is over 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, if local news accounts are correct.


*** This is a huge environmental disaster of epic proportions.


To see an amazing aerial video of the spill - the big hunks and chunks in the river are mounds of coal ash:




There is better aerial footage but you have to watch an Applebees commercial first - go to the link below, then scroll down to the "Most Popular" section and find the button that says "aerial footage"




The local media are downplaying the spill, but the Nashville newspaper (The Tennessean) has a decent article







Anne M. Woiwode, State Director

Sierra Club Michigan Chapter - 109 E. Grand River Avenue, Lansing, MI 48906  - 517-484-2372    anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org   http://michigan.sierraclub.org/index.shtml


Support the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter - contact Wendi Tilden at wendi.tilden@sierraclub.org


The bold steps that are needed to solve the climate crisis are exactly the same steps that ought to be taken in order to solve the economic crisis and the energy security crisis - Al Gore