Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tennessee Coal Disaster

On Dec. 22nd a landslide of 5.3 million cubic yards of coal ash, a waste product of coal burning power plants, contaminated the Tennessee River near Kingston, TN. The river is a source of drinking water for millions of people. To put the size of the spill in perspective, this equals over 1 billion gallons, or 100 times the size of the Exxon Valdez spill.

Coal Ash contains heavy metals including mercury, arsenic and lead, and according to a Dec 13, 2007 article in Scientific American, is more radioactive than nuclear waste.

First Hand Account of the Coal Ash Disaster

On my way up to Ohio at Christmas, we drove through the beautiful mountains of West Virginia and saw several billboards reading "Clean, Carbon Neutral Coal". The true weight of the irony was lost on me, as I was not yet aware of the coal ash landslide.

Website with Facts on Coal Power

Sorry to end the year on a bummer, but with all the political rhetoric over "clean coal" I felt this event was too important. Here's to 2009 being about change and progress.

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