As more news comes out of Tennessee, the Dec. 22 coal sludge spill is sounding worse and worse. As you may have read two weeks ago on my previous care2 causes blog, a coal plant in Kingston, Tenn., spilled a sea of black sludge onto nearby houses and into wild lands. It covered 400 acres of land, up to 6 feet deep and flooded into tributaries of the Tennessee River–the water supply for Chattanooga, Tenn., and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Originally the coal company, TVA, was saying that only 50 million gallons of coal-sludge was spilled out of their waste pits, but now the reports are indicating that the number is over 1 billion gallons of coal slur. Fifty million gallons is a big deal, but 1 billion is beyond belief.
This Tennessee TVA spill is over 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. Since day one, there have been a handful of committed volunteers and non-profits that are working on relief. United Mountain Defense has been at the site of the spill sharing information about the extremely serious threats to human health and the environment.
They’ve been preparing water tests, taking photos and video, giving out clean drinking water, and spreading information to local residents of the dangers of the ash. They are at a critical point in their work and need help from the environmental movement. Check out their blog to find out how you can help.
As horrible as this spill is, it provides us with an opportunity to learn, educate and organize. Our movement needs to draw on the first hand accounts, images and videos from this catastrophe to show people that coal is a dirty business and needs to be replaced. We can use these resources to make the case for renewable energy like solar, wind and hydroelectric.
They are not only better for our air quality, don’t contribute to global warming, but renewable energy is also just plain safer. Like I said in my last post, wind turbines and solar panels don’t produce any sludge.
Photo cred: United Mountain Defense: http://www.unitedmountaindefense.org