THE BLOG
02/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tennessee Coal Sludge Disaster: Think This Could Not Happen to You? Think Again.

On December 22 (2 weeks ago), over 1 billion gallons of toxic coal sludge came cascading through Eastern Tennessee. The tidal wave of sludge toppled houses and dirtied rivers and streams. This toxic coal ash has been stored in an open 40-acre pond next to the 50-year-old power plant. According to State authorities, after the spill there are 54,000 people with contaminated water in Roane County alone, and many more outside the county may also have tainted drinking water.


If you think this could not happen to you, think again. More than 50 percent of Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant.

Coal plants leave behind scarred landscapes, poor and exploited communities, and even if you are lucky enough not to live near a coal plant you are still affected by dirty coal because it is the number one source of global warming pollution in the United States.

The Tennessee coal ash spill was a man-made disaster that is directly tied to our reliance on fossil fuels. In the face of this tragedy, the coal industry still wants to build more pollution-belching coal plants, and we cannot let that happen. This just proves that in Reality, there is no such thing as clean coal.

The coal industry spent more than $45 million last year trying to convince Americans that the dirtiest fuel on the planet is in fact "clean".

Congress has the power to stop the construction of any new dirty coal plants. We're asking you to contact your Member of Congress because it is the most effective way to guarantee action. Tell them that America is ready for clean energy -- not more dirty coal. Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency would result in more jobs for the same amount of power -- with no toxic sludge.

Send a letter to your Member of Congress Now!

We know Congress is already beginning to pay attention because on January 8, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding an oversight hearing on the Tennessee Valley Authority and the recent major coal ash spill.


1Sky steering committee member Steve Smith, the Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), will be testifying. We'll let you know what happens at that hearing, but it will mean more if letters from frustrated citizens come at the same time. So, thanks for your help on this and let's work together to stop building any new coal plants.