THE BLOG
01/23/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Massive Coal Ash Spill in Tennessee puts the lie to Clean Coal

When it comes to PR spindoctoring there is always one surefire cure - reality.

If you were fooled by the multimillion dollar "clean coal" PR marketing campaign take a look at this video footage of a massive flood of toxic coal sludge from a dam that burst at a local coal company's processing plant in Tennessee yesterday.

The spill covered as many as 400 acres of land with toxic ash as high as six feet deep.

You can go here to see some local TV news coverage. Here's some raw footage of the spill zone:

According to local news reports millions of yards of ashy toxic sludge broke through a dike at TVA's Kingston coal-fired plant Monday, covering hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation. Coal ash can carry toxic substances that include mercury, arsenic and lead, according to a federal study.

Greenpeace is calling today for there to be a criminal investigation into the matter. “Every facility like this is supposed to have a spill contingency plan to prevent this kind of disaster,” said Rick Hind, Greenpeace Legislative

Director. “The authorities need to get to the bottom of what went wrong and hold the responsible parties accountable.”

"This spill shows that coal can never be ‘clean,’” said Kate Smolski, Senior Legislative Coordinator for Greenpeace. “If the Exxon Valdez was a symbol of pollution 20 years ago, the Tennessee Coal Spill of 2008 is the symbol of it today.”