Its not all bad news at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) cleanup operation in Kingston Tennessee.
No, despite the spill of 5.3 million cubic yards of coal ash from their power plant -- over 1 billion gallons -- into tributaries of the Tennessee River, everything seems to be just fine -- at least if you are a TVA spokesperson.
This environmental catastrophe has left the national news media struggling to find a way to convey its enormous magnitude. It is almost 100 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. CNN says the coal ash is "enough to fill 1,660 Olympic-size swimming pools," whatever that means.
But meanwhile, the Public Relation Department at TVA has been very busy reassuring the public that all is well. No need to panic, nothing to see here, move along. And don't take any pictures.
According to the TVA website, this disaster wasn't a disaster, it was an "ash slide." It was also an "event."
The 5-story tall mountain of coal waste didn't collapse into the river like a tsunami of sludge -- no, it was "displaced."
All those dead fish -- they died because "the force of the water during the initial event stranded some fish out of the water and they subsequently died. That was not related to water quality."
That gray stuff floating in the water is called "cenospheres," and its used to make bowling balls! Thats some handy information for the nearby families.
And ... "most of the fly ash consists of inert material" .
Well, you could say the same thing about Jim Jones Kool-Aid. It was "mostly inert" too.
And there is still more good news: over 1000 feet of railroad tracks leading to the TVA power plant have already been cleared of sludge so that TVA will have plenty of coal to burn and generate more coal ash.
Whew, thats a relief. I was afraid they were going to run out of coal.