Questioning TVA’s claims about coal ash toxins in the water More »
TVA compares coal ash pollutants to a bottle of vitamins?
The Tennesseean's Tom Wilemon investigates TVA's claims about the safety of its coal ash storage. In the story TVA spokesperson compares the coal ash pollutants leaking into the Cumberland River to a bottle of vitamins, even though he admits that arsenic (a toxin known to cause cancer) is being discharged from the Gallatin power plant outside of Nashville.
TVA claims that the amount of arsenic released is too small to matter, that the ponds storing coal ash waste aren't leaking and that they withstood the 2010 flood without any problems. But the Tennessean points out that TVA's own memos, other government records and independent tests contradict those statements.
Watch the video and read the full article "Arsenic in water from coal ash at center of TVA dispute" in The Tennesseean (by Tom Wilemon on March 2, 2015)
Read more about TVA's coal ash in the The Tennesseean by Tom Wilemon:
- Learn about the 7 Things to know about coal ash in Gallatin (March 2, 2015)
- Read the article "TDEC, environmental groups uneasy partners in court" (February 28, 2015)
Read the article "Groups join lawsuit to protect Nashville drinking water" (February 5, 2015)
Learn more about SELC's lawsuit against TVA:
- Read SELC's press release "Conservation Groups Seek Clean Up of TVA’s Coal Ash Pollution in the Cumberland River"
- Read SELC's press release "Conservation Groups File Notice Against Tenn. Valley Authority Over Coal Ash Pollution at Gallatin Plant"
Regulation of Coal Combustion Waste
Protecting Our Water and Our Health from Coal Ash
Nearly every major river in the Southeast has one or more lagoons on its banks holding slurries of coal ash from power plants. Containing hundreds of thousands of tons of toxin-laden waste, these pools are often unlined and have leaked arsenic, mercury, thallium, selenium, and other contaminants into the rivers and the underlying groundwater for years, if not decades.
Putting a Stop to Years of Pollution
SELC is using its law and policy skills to force our region’s utilities to clean up their waste sites and store coal ash in ways that protect water quality and people's health. When state and federal governments did not act following a devastating 2008 spill in Kingston, TN, we began enforcing the law ourselves.
In North Carolina, our lawsuits have produced cleanup commitments at four Duke Energy sites, and SELC is representing a number of groups in ten different state and federal lawsuits to require clean up at all 14 of Duke Energy’s leaking coal ash sites throughout the state.
In South Carolina, a combination of legal action and public pressure from SELC prompted all three of the state’s major utilities to begin a significant cleanup to clean up leaking coal ash lagoons on South Carolina’s rivers - a historic accomplishment for clean water in South Carolina.
In Virginia, we uncovered decades of coal ash pollution leaking from two different Dominion Virginia Power sites: the Possum Point Power Plant along the Potomac River 30 miles south of Washington D.C., and the Chesapeake Energy Center along the Elizabeth River. SELC is working to make sure Dominion is held responsible for cleaning up these waterways.
In Tennessee, we filed a notice of intent against Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for coal ash at the Gallatin Plant polluting the Cumberland River, which provides drinking water for 1.2 million residents downstream in Gallatin, Nashville, Rutherford County, and Williamson County. Furthermore, TVA is still cleaning up in Kingston, TN after the biggest coal ash spill in the country occurred six years ago.
Advocating Tougher Standards
Despite the dangers revealed by the catastrophic Kingston spill in 2008 and the 2014 Dan River spill in NC, the EPA released long-awaited federal coal ash protections in late 2014 that fail to adequately protect communities and waterways. This rule establishes only a bare minimum of protection, so we will continue to enforce stronger federal and state clean water and anti-pollution laws to protect rivers and communities from the dangers of coal ash.
Is There a Coal Ash Waste Site Near You?
To help Southerners find out more about risks to their communities, SELC and its partners launched SoutheastCoalAsh.org, a website that provides an interactive map and database of 100 coal-fired power plants and their coal ash impoundments.
This Case Affects
Attorneys on Case
In the News
A year after Duke spill, work to do
Increased offshore drilling efforts could lead to ecological disaster
Apologies for the Dan River spill, guilt for coal ash crimes
Duke Energy Pleads Guilty to Charges Under Clean Water Act
Duke Energy reaches settlement with feds on coal ash spill
Beneath PR spin, Duke Energy pleads guilty to environmental crimes
Duke Energy pays for dodging coal ash problems
Duke Energy Facing $102.2 Million Pollution Charge
US charges Duke with illegal pollution from 5 coal ash dumps
Duke Energy now facing criminal charges for coal ash pollution
SELC Statement in Response to Federal Charges Filed against Duke Energy
SCE&G Exceeds Schedule in Removing Coal Ash from Lagoons in Wateree, S.C.
Conservation Groups Seek Clean Up of TVA’s Coal Ash Pollution in the Cumberland River
Santee Cooper ahead of Schedule in Removing Coal Ash from Lagoons in Conway, S.C.
Citizens Groups Support Tennessee State Action Against TVA For Alleged Environmental Violations at the Gallatin Fossil Plant
Press Statement on EPA Announcement of Federal Coal Ash Protections
More Concerns Raised about Dominion’s Coal Ash in Chesapeake, VA
All S.C. Utilities Now Committed to Removing Coal Ash Out of Lagoons and Away from Rivers
New Coal Ash Leaks Discovered at Duke Energy’s Buck Power Plant
Conservation Groups File Notice Against Tenn. Valley Authority Over Coal Ash Pollution at Gallatin Plant
Cape Fear Riverkeeper
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
Dan River Basin Association
Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation
Potomac Riverkeeper, Inc.
Roanoke River Basin Foundation
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Tennessee Clean Water Network
Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association
Western North Carolina Alliance
Winyah Rivers Foundation