Tennessee Coal Ash Disaster Anniversary -- News Roundup

Ben Somberg

Dec. 22, 2009

One year ago today, about 1 billion gallons of coal ash were spilled when a dyke collapsed at the Tennessee Valley Authority's fossil plant in Kingston, Tennessee.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel has the moment-by-moment account of what happened that night. They report that Roane County real estate and tourism have suffered, and that there are 14 lawsuits pending against TVA in relation to the disaster, which will likely take years to resolve. And they editorialize:

TVA and the EPA have vowed that they will do everything in their power to prevent anything of this kind and this magnitude from ever happening again. We believe they will try — and public oversight and accountability will be the best tools to hold them to their promise.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports a group of local residents speaking up against TVA and state and county authorities.

The Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette look at prospects for EPA action on coal ash regulation. As the Post puts it:

One year later, most of the ash on the land is still there. And the problem of similar coal-ash ponds still sits on the long and fast-expanding to-do list of President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.

Last week, we noted here that the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has already held 10 meetings with industry representatives on the issue, before any EPA notice-and-comment period has begun.

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