Tennesseeans Bring Jar Of Sludge To Sen. Boxer Ahead Of Hearing

02/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Dave Burdick Man about Boulder: dailycamera.com, biggreenboulder.com, fridayallweek.com

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that Tennessee residents met with Sen. Barbara Boxer and others in Washington yesterday to talk about the effects of a massive coal ash sludge spill on December 22. Some of the residents had a unique gift for Boxer -- a jar of toxic sludge:

Five Roane County residents making the rounds on Capitol Hill on Wednesday brought U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer a singular gift - a mason jar full of Tennessee Valley Authority fly ash sludge.

All have been affected by the Dec. 22 deluge from TVA's failed fly ash retention pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant, and they wanted the California Democrat to see a small bit of the 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic goop that covers 300 acres of land and has filled the Emory River.

The sludge contains arsenic, lead, barium, thallium and other substances that can cause health problems, including cancer, liver damage and neurological disorders. The residents said they had no clue what was inside the holding pond, which had walls six stories high and encompassed 40 acres.

VIDEO UPDATE: As we understand it, there are at least two places you can watch the hearing live. One is at the Senate committee site. A red button will appear on this page when the hearing is live. You will need RealPlayer and you will need to disable your popup blockers. Another option is WATE, a local ABC affiliate.

Here are screenshots of Boxer's new jar of sludge, taken during the hearing: