environment

Good Friday, Earth Day, Predators and Hellfire, A Drive Thru Church and Lady Gaga Raises the Dead

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‘A billion acts of green ®’  to save the planet, millions in church for Good Friday and Easter to save their souls and a few drone launched hellfire missiles to kill some arabs.

Love the earth, be a good Christian and cheer on the killing.  Seems like a disconnect to me but who am I to judge.

Religion and environmentalism are very similar. Both require beliefs, some of which are useful to society and some of which are nothing but deceptions for profit and control. War requires beliefs too. Blind believing in leaders and the inability to see through propaganda. Beliefs that the enemy is always out there somewhere and let’s get them before they get us. Beliefs that our government would never kill their own and blame it on others. You might think that religionists and environmentalists would find common ground and join together to battle wars of lies that pollute both the spirit and mother earth but I guess that’s just too much to ask.

Here’s a couple of Good Friday stories from different perspectives that sort of merge onto the same path …
 Jews Expressing Their Love of Jesus and Resolving the Plot. When self described Christians and atheists come to some of the same conclusions, well, maybe there is hope.

And for those who need a little old time religion but are just too busy to go traditional routes, there’s a former bank in Nashville that now has for a limited time only … drive through services. Casting out the money changers takes on a whole new meaning.

Proof came to Nashville that Lady Gaga is not a demon spawn using occult symbolism to corrupt the youth. A 33 year old fan at her recent show here died and was brought back to life.

No, she didn’t die during the song Judas and it was actually medics with a defibrillator that brought her back but surely Gaga wearing crosses as nipple covers had something to do with this miracle.  

As they always say, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” 

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Cleaning Up

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Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville said the cost of damages from the weekend of record flooding will likely exceed $1 billion.

Nashville  drying out and cleaning up photos.

BP oil spill cost for the Deepwater Horizon clean-up could total at least $12.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the U.S.Congress is considering a bill to vote for it’s annual $3 Billion assistance to Israel’s IDF.

Money that doesn’t exist except as forever debt to the Federal Reserve.

While tens of thousands of US citizens work to clean up the destruction that has and is occurring in our land and on our shores, Israel uses its influence to continue to clean out what is left in our pockets.

Isn’t it time to take care of our own and force Israel pay for its own land theft and destruction of lives? Without our money perhaps it would stop.

Feds raid Gibson Guitar in Nashville

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Not exactly earth shaking news but it shows that when there are laws against something and there is money to be made from breaking those laws, smugglers are willing to take a chance. Would Gibson knowingly be involved in such a scheme as is being implied?

Iconic company investigated for illegal importation of Madagascar wood

Federal agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local police today seized wood, guitars, computers and boxes of files from Gibson Guitar’s Massman Road manufacturing facility.

Sources say the Nashville-based guitar manufacturer is being investigated for violating the Lacey Act, a key piece of environmental law, for importing endangered species of rosewood from Madagascar.

Rosewood is widely used in the construction of guitars and sells for $5,000 per cubic meter, more than double the price of mahogany. The island nation off Africa’s east coast is a key producer of the hardwood, the export of which has links to international criminal activity.

A statement from Gibson released late Tuesday afternoon says the company is “fully co-operating” with the investigation.

“Gibson Guitar is fully cooperating with agents of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service as it pertains to an issue with harvested wood. Gibson is a chain of custody certified buyer who purchases wood from legal suppliers who are to follow all standards. Gibson Guitar Chairman and CEO [Henry Juszkiewicz] sits on the board of the Rainforest Alliance and takes the issue of certification very seriously. The company will continue to cooperate fully and assist our federal government with all inquiries and information,” the company’s statement said.

Madagascar has struggled financially since a January coup and new President Andry Rajoelina issued an executive order in September legalizing the export of rosewood and ebony. The move was decried by environmental groups and political leaders worldwide, as hardwood forests are key to Madagascar’s unique ecology and serve as a habitat for a dwindling lemur population.

Sources tell NashvillePost.com Gibson was involved in a scheme that shipped the wood from Madagascar to Germany and then to the United States. {source – Nashville Post}

Suppliers may lie

Scott Paul, director of the forest campaign for Greenpeace, said the investigation at Gibson’s facility shows how complex and tricky the sale of wood products can be, especially when some sales are arranged through third parties in remote countries.

“Today proves that even if you’re very serious about buying only certified, well-managed supplies, it’s still possible to get caught up … in many of these regions where law enforcement is not always great and corruption is not uncommon,” Paul said. “There are a lot of middle men between the guitar manufacturer and the company that is logging the ground. There are a lot of people who are not that honest in the timber business worldwide.”

Gibson’s prepared statement suggested that it works through other suppliers at times when buying special wood products.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Webb said the search warrant was obtained based on information in a sealed affidavit outlining the investigation. That document remained under federal court seal Tuesday evening.

Gibson Guitar is part of the MusicWood Coalition, an activist group formed by Greenpeace that also includes fellow guitar manufacturers Martin and Taylor and other industry players.

Last year, a delegation of the coalition visited Madagascar to better understand the nation’s forestry practices.
Despite such efforts, though, industry officials and environmentalists say it can be tricky to be certain of the source of all woods delivered from remote areas of the globe.

Sometimes it’s possible for wood not allowed under the Lacey Act to slip through as a mistake, said Richard Hoover, founder of Santa Cruz Guitar Co. in California. Hoover said it’s possible that his company may have been fooled into buying illegal wood.

The Lacey Act can result in criminal penalties and fines, but if a company unknowingly breaks the law and takes possession of illegal woods, it may only result in the forfeiture of the merchandise.In general, guitar makers have not stopped using rosewood, ebony and other exotic woods, but have begun sourcing the wood from renewable supplies and going through a certification process. {more -The Tennessean}

Why all the fuss?

Madagascar, which has been isolated from landmasses for more than 160m years, is the world’s fourth largest island and a “conservation hotspot” with thousands of exotic species found only here. These include nearly 100 species of lemur, six of which are deemed critically endangered.

But decades of logging, mining and farming have destroyed 90 per cent of Madagascar’s forests, though the rate has slowed in the past two decades, the Guardian reports.

The former president, Marc Ravalomanana, was praised for putting 6m hectares under protection and backing eco-friendly community projects and sustainable farming. But Mr Ravalomanana was ousted in March in a violent coup that led to a “gold rush” of armed loggers and poachers.

Now lemurs’ natural habitat is again under threat from the accelerating deforestation.

In addition, the endangered animals are being hunted for bushmeat, either to be eaten by drought-afflicted local populations or sold as a roasted delicacy in city restaurants.

Dr Hantanirina Rasamimanana, a researcher and teacher at Antananarivo University, told the paper: “Deforestation is always a problem, but in these past five months bushmeat is also very dangerous. People are desperate because of the lack of rain.”

She added: “Here in Madagascar, when there is a political change, everything is burning. It’s always like that. They burn, they cut, they destroy, they steal. “If they don’t stop, I am afraid that some species will become extinct.” Conservationists say that armed gangs are exploiting the security vacuum to pillage rosewood and ebony from supposedly protected forests on behalf of a so-called “timber mafia”.

This year an estimated $100m worth of hardwood has been cut down and sold, mostly to China to be turned into furniture. {more}

Energy Problems…Government Solutions

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Eliminating government is the most obvious first step towards energy independence. Let’s start with the Department of Defense.

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Sam needs his steroids taken away before he kills us all.

The fraud of foreign wars and the ‘war on terror’ contribute heavily to U.S. energy consumption. Bringing our troops home from the 761 military bases scattered all over the world would go a long way toward energy independence. Using a downsized military at home for defensive purposes only, eliminating the corruption of the military/industrial complex and getting rid of Israel’s stranglehold over military policies would be a good start.

The Department of Defense is the world’s largest buyer of oil and the nation’s largest single user of energy. In 2006, DoD purchased 110 million barrels of petroleum, costing $13.6 billion. {source}

The Department of Defense uses 4.6 billion gallons of fuel annually, or an average of 12.6 million gallons of fuel per day. A large Army division may use about 6,000 gallons per day. According to the 2005 CIA World Factbook, the DoD would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.

In FY 2006, the DoD used almost 30,000 gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity, at a cost of almost $2.2 billion. The DoD’s electricity use would supply enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million average American homes. In electricity consumption, the DOD would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria (CIA World Factbook, 2006).

The DoD uses 93 percent of all US government fuel consumption (Air Force: 52%; Navy: 33%; Army: 7%. Other DoD: 1%) {source}

Since these numbers come from government sources, you can bet they are underestimated.

War and military policy for the profit and power of a few psychopaths is not energy efficient.
A large number of poor people also die in vain.

How about FEMA, The Department of Education, EPA, the IRS? And that’s just a few of the big ones. No need to stop there. Shutter their doors. No carbon footprint and hot air from these frauds and the world is closer to being ‘saved.’ This is not to say that there is no need for the rule of law. We have laws already to take down the various criminals in all of their endeavors. They’re just not being used.

The billions not spent on these government entities, if they were made obsolete and dismantled and the money not stolen from taxpayers, would certainly stimulate the economy in the long run.

Without war as the first step, we can then move on to all of the other problems we have because of corruption; the federal reserve, bankers, Wall Street, health care, sustainable agriculture, “the war on drugs,” U.S. manufacturing, globalism, the welfare state, etc. etc.

Or maybe I have it a little out of order. Perhaps we should start with the global bankers and the Federal Reserve. After all, historically they have the most to gain from war.

I can visualize a ‘green’ world in our future but only without the thieves that deceive us.

Oh well, just another one of those “I had a dream” moments. We all know that any move pushing too far in the direction of smaller honest government would result in the deaths of many Americans on our own soil, again, blamed on ‘foreigners’ that want to destroy us and getting that old ‘kill ’em all and let God sort it out’ American patriotism back in line. Would the majority be fooled again?

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Dreams without action don’t come true. How do we stop this madness?

TVA cleanup intensifies and so does the heat bill

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Although the TVA ash spill has dropped out from the national news, there is still a major story here to be told. The local press continues to expose some facts and TVA continues to spin. All while TVA customers are paying and struggling with the highest bills in history.

TVA once prided itself on having the lowest or very near the lowest rates in the country. No more. Local reports are that some neighboring states that are not TVA controlled are paying half or less for the same amount of electricity. TVA says it’s our fault. We haven’t conserved enough. As if in these economic times there are a great number of people who can afford energy efficient appliances, heating systems and new homes.

This is what happens when centralized government monopolies without oversight from our ‘representatives’ are in control. Not a lot different than when private monopolies such as Enron and the oil companies have a license to steal.

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This property, with TVA’s Kingston plant looming in the background, remains covered in sludge ash.

Restoring Area May Be the Biggest Challange

January 26, 2009

HARRIMAN, Tenn. — TVA is near the end of its first phase of response to a massive coal ash spill in East Tennessee last month, stabilizing and preventing further spread of the sludge at an estimated cost of $1 million a day.

The giant public utility is considering options for what could be the costliest, lengthiest and most complicated operations: removing the ash from land and water and restoring the area to pre-spill conditions.

One of the trickiest jobs could be removing the coal ash from the Emory River and possibly downstream on the Clinch River, both of which have pockets of radioactive materials buried in the riverbed that can be traced to splitting atoms for nuclear power and weapons development upstream at Oak Ridge decades ago.

Residents are concerned about where the ash will be put and whether, as TVA tries to move it, the materials can become airborne or move downstream and harm people or aquatic life.

TVA is developing plans and an official said it will soon move into the next phase, which would include dredging at a weir on the Emory built to capture coal ash.

“We’re going to get the material out of the river,” said Anda Ray, TVA’s senior vice president of the Office of Environment and Research. “We’re going to do the right thing, not the low-cost thing.”

The cost of removing the ash will depend on the depth of the dredging in the streambed, whether the ash is allowed to dry out initially on a barge or at a land facility, and where the muck will go for disposal.

About 5.4 million cubic yards of ash sludge tumbled from TVA’s aboveground combination pond/landfill when it ruptured on Dec. 22, knocking one nearby home off its foundations, downing trees and power lines, killing fish and sullying about 275 acres. It filled two inlets of the Emory.

Dredge risk downplayed

The Emory — along with the Clinch River, which it flows into, and the Lower Watts Bar Reservoir, which they both enter — still has pockets of sediment that holds radioactive cesium and a host of other ills from nuclear power production and weapons development at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation several decades ago.

The lake was already off limits to commercial fishing because of the contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, from unspecified sources, and the public has been warned for years not to eat striped bass from the lower Emory River and the Clinch.

A state advisory says no one should eat more than one meal a month of catfish or sauger from there, and pregnant women and children shouldn’t eat the fish at all. The Clinch River has advisories on even more species.

Some environmentalists have pointed out that dredging could kick up sediment, but a committee of state, TVA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA officials that has to inspect any dredging requests in the area downriver of Oak Ridge has said the action would not be a problem in the Emory.

“Most of the sediment that’s going to be dredged in any one given location is really not going to be that heavily contaminated,” said John Shewairy, spokesman for the DOE office in Oak Ridge.

Eroding soil from development and other sites over the decades has buried much of the older sediment, with the higher concentrations of cesium found 8 to 32 inches deep.

Sampling over the years on the Emory has consistently shown cesium levels below the amount that would prohibit the sediment from being spread on agricultural lands, according to monitoring data that the group provided. That’s the only requirement if levels are high.

Strontium, mercury and uranium were among the materials that regularly moved in the 1950s and 1960s from DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation via streams that flow into the Clinch River. With the Emory draining into the Clinch, materials have backed up into it also.

Testing historically showed only cesium levels were high enough to keep an eye on in the Emory, according to John Owsley with the state’s DOE Oversight Office. The radioactivity, buried over the years, has weakened, he said.

More testing, however, would have to be carried out if ash is found in the Clinch that must be dredged, the interagency group said in a Jan. 15 letter to TVA.

The heavy part of the ash has not been found beyond the Emory, TVA’s Ray said. However, lighter “cenospheres” the agency says are inert, hollow particles have floated miles downstream into the Clinch River and Watts Bar Reservoir on the Tennessee River.

The state, which must give permission for any dredging, wants swift action on the river cleanup.

more – The Tennessean

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TVA memo spins environmental impact of coal ash disaster

TVA’s edited internal memo on coal ash disaster

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Tennessee fumes over high heating bills

Nashville-area utilities get record number of calls.

Customers of Nashville Electric Service who felt sticker shock when they received their December bills were not alone.

Across the Nashville region, electricity users have been hit with painful and surprising balances on bills. Utilities received record numbers of customer service calls as representatives explained that slightly higher rates, colder-than-average weather and increased energy usage contributed to the spike.

In recent weeks, many customers — thousands at NES alone — have expressed outrage over high bills or made arrangements to pay them late, as the seemingly overnight increase left many of them scratching their heads. Others have become more prudent about turning off lights and lowering thermostats when they are not home.

While the companies have little control over rates, Jones said, customers do have control over conserving energy: make sure their homes are weatherproofed and buy energy efficient appliances.

“The day has passed of leaving the light on when they leave the room,” he said.

Tennessee has the 13th-highest consumption of electricity per capita.

Customer gets $304 bill

Hendersonville resident Mark Powelson was perplexed over the prices and his $304 electric bill for using 2,958 kilowatt-hours. His father a state away in Missouri used the same amount of power — though from a different electric company — and paid $128.

The rate increases that customers see are handed down to the utilities from TVA through cost adjustments, which are made quarterly.

“Is it fair? Are we being overcharged because of mismanagement and overrun costs that aren’t necessary?” Powelson said. “It just seems to me that the rates have gotten so high and they shouldn’t be.”

Jones, of Middle Tennessee Electric, said Tennessee has among the lowest rates in the country. The average bill for the agency was about $155.

“Rates are still about 20 percent below the national average,” Jones said. “We are somewhat spoiled with our rates.”

Powelson wants to find out firsthand how Tennessee matches up. He is so determined to understand what is happening that he has asked friends and family from across the country to send him copies of their bills from places like Georgia, Maine, Indiana and Minnesota.

“My father in 15 years has not had a rate increase,” he said. “If that electric company can do it and still profit, why can’t TVA model that and do the same?”

P.D. Mynatt, spokesman for the Murfreesboro Electric Department, echoed his counterpart at Middle Tennessee Electric and said all utilities are busy educating customers on how to lower their bills.

Customers should weatherstrip windows and doors, and turn off or even unplug appliances not being used. Customers can also perform an energy audit on their homes or ask for a representative to do it.

“It is important for customers to utilize their energy wisely,” Mynatt said.

Bills could get worse before they get better, he warned, because of a chilly January, when temperatures approached zero degrees some days.

“Customers should probably anticipate their bills will not be coming down, and if anything they may be going up,” Mynatt said.

more – The Tennessean

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Although TVA and the local electric companies do a good job of keeping the electricity flowing, they have always wasted billions of dollars.

From 1977 to 1984, TVA was constructing a nuclear plant in Hartsville, TN. After spending at least $2 billion, the project was canceled. Maybe cancellation was a good thing but it never should have been started.

Having known a number of people who worked on this project, the horror stories they told were many. Not the least of which was the burying of possibly millions of dollars worth of equipment and materials on the site just to keep some of the costs covered up.

There also have been reports of clandestine government activities taking place at the Hartsville site. Whether true or not remains to be seen.

TVA Disaster Spreads Far and Wide

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Erin Brockovich and Robin Greenwald
Posted January 13, 2009

As a result of a 1.1 billion gallon spill of contaminated fly ash, there has been discussion, press reportage and blogging about the environmental disaster in eastern Tennessee Most of us have seen the pictures — a 300+ acre area strewn with black and brown muck as far as the eye can see. Houses lifted off their foundations and thrown across the road, yards filled so high with ash that people can’t leave their homes without stepping in it, roadways littered with the ash from trucks going to and from the site, and an eerie still where active life once existed. While this story continues to unfold — as more samples are taken that delineate the true toxicity of this mess, as TVA makes plans to contain and abate the disaster — there is a story that has not been told. It is a story that must be told. And that story is the lives of innocent bystanders that have been turned upside down by this avoidable disaster.

I learned of this disaster on the news just as we all did. Usually I receive an email from someone in the community where there has been an environmental problem. At first, it was all quiet. About 10 days after the tragedy I got the first email, then another one and another one and another one, and they kept coming. I also started receiving anonymous tips. It occurred to me that maybe more was going on than what I could gather from the news. With an invitation from the community, I decided to make the trip.

Let’s be honest. Usually when I am called into an environmental disaster, I anticipate that industry isn’t going to step up to the plate and do what’s right by the people. Lawsuits almost always ensue; it would be foolish for me to walk into a situation like this without an attorney. Besides, I consult with two law firms in the United States: Girardi & Keese in Los Angeles and Weitz & Luxenberg in New York. I traveled to the area with an attorney, Robin Greenwald from Weitz and Luxenberg, along with some experts. In many instances such as this disaster, government agencies are absent due to lack of funds and can only rely on the information that industry gives them; and industry generally operates under concealment.

When I first arrived on the site, I was pretty quiet. It took a while to absorb what I was looking at. I knew there was a lake but an entire area was gone. I kept wondering “Where did the water go?” I couldn’t decide if it looked more like a tornado had gone through, a mudslide, landslide, maybe a volcano erupted or a tidal wave. It is now a “moonscape.” The landscape has completely changed. It is almost unidentifiable.

Watching TV never gives you an idea of the extent of damage. It’s only when you stand there that you can actually feel the magnitude.

It struck me that I had an unusual taste on my lips and in my mouth. I asked others if they noticed that, and they did. Some experienced scratchy throats, respiratory problems, itchy and burning eyes and tasted what one expert believed to be sulfuric acid. If we were experiencing this much discomfort after a few minutes, what on earth are the people who live here feeling?

The other thing that stood out in my mind was how fortunate it was that this event took place when it did.

What would it have been like had this occurred in the summer during the middle of the day? Hundreds of people boat on this lake. Children swim and play in these waters. I was struck by the number of deaths that might have occurred but didn’t.

This corner of Roane County Tennessee is off the beaten path. It is remote, distant from any main street and city noise. It is easy to see the beauty of rolling mountains, lakes, rivers, comfortable family homes. It is serene, a piece of heaven on earth. This was a safe place to raise kids, to teach them to fish and swim, to enjoy family and have barbecues or sit quietly to watch the sunset on warm summer nights. I could see why people live there. Over the past couple of weeks we have had the opportunity to speak with people about life both before December 22. Life in the Kingston/Harriman area was idyllic. It was a place people chose as their home. It was a place that, even if jobs took people away in their youth, they awaited the day they could return and did so as soon as possible. It is a beautiful place, with water bodies everywhere. There are green meadows laced among the waters. These shared memories come to life in the “before” photographs that residents showed us. The pictures show children diving from docks into the lake, people canoeing along the rivers, families tubing in the hot summer sun and children and their dogs walking along the shore. A favorite scene of many residents is the sunset over the water, with the soft nighttime colors glistening on the lake. It went from pristine to profaned overnight.

The “after” picture is nothing but a sludge-filled lake, dead fish and miles and miles of contamination flowing out of control. And what cannot be captured by photographs is the human toll of this disaster. The child who wakes up nightly with nightmares; the woman whose cough is so severe she can hardly speak and has been diagnosed with acute asthma from the ash spill; the tri-athlete who can no longer train in his environs; the families scared to death to go outside for fear they breathe in the toxic ash in the air; people realizing that TVA’s recommendation to boil their water before drinking it in the wake of the disaster was a false comfort and bottled water, at their own expense, is the only solution for drinking; and the couple who lives downwind of the disaster who, following walking their dog on a hilltop on a windy night, suffered severe nose bleeds. This is a very frightening time for the people of this community. This community is incredibly brave, but it is also rightfully fearful — they love their community, their homes, their environment and they don’t want to leave, but they also don’t want to stay at the risk of their health. They want answers and they can’t get them. Many people have the same tale: they call the TVA hotline for answers and help but no one answers or returns their calls. Why does this happen? What did they do to deserve such treatment? I can only imagine the sadness of the families. The whole area looks like a wound on the land. To heal it, it’s going to take more than a band-aid and a squirt of Bactine.

The next day of my visit we did a fly over of the site, which showed the big picture. Extending for at least 5 to 6 miles downstream, we could see a plume of this toxic ash floating down the river, resting on the banks. We saw the remaining refrigerator and patch of roof where the now demolished house once stood. We saw a child’s trampoline, once in someone’s backyard, now buried in TVA’s toxic sludge. We saw miles of ash, still traveling down river, contaminating riverbanks along the way. In truth, there are no words to describe the scenes of devastation from this disaster. The pictures are powerful, but they simply cannot capture the panorama of devastation. This was a sludge tsunami — but one caused by corporate neglect, not natural occurrences. And what it left behind from this tsunami are mounds of toxic rubble where a lake once existed, where rivers flow and where children used to play.

We all wonder what will happen to the ecosystem: the fish and wildlife. The human life. How far reaching is this event? What does the future hold for the public health and safety? Overnight a whole community’s lifestyle is gone.

It is bad enough that TVA mismanaged this 50+ year old waste pile of coal ash. But to put salt in the wounds of its neighbors by failing to provide critically important answers and aid is incomprehensible. TVA should have mobilized hundreds of medical experts to go to peoples’ homes and answer their questions. They need to be honest and transparent about their knowledge of the make-up of the sludge, what they plan to do with it and how they intend to return life to what it used to be, if that is even possible. TVA should have a hotline that is manned sufficiently so that no one is ever put on hold or, worse yet, not answered at all. The residents of this community deserve to be treated with honesty and respect, and that is not happening. Even local elected officials are letting residents down, spending their time telling residents not to work with attorneys instead of camping outside TVA’s doors demanding honest and fast answers to critically important health questions. As you know, we work on the legal side. While we cannot fully appreciate the pain and fear of those who are living the fall out of this disaster on a daily basis, we saw and heard enough to understand that our presence and our voice is critically important to ensure that this community is treated fairly and provided the truth about the present situation and their future. We will continue to aid this community as it struggles through the haze that TVA has created and continues to fuel.

So many questions come to mind but there aren’t any answers. My motto has become “Prevention rather than Rescue.”

Hindsight always shows how these tragedies could have been prevented. If history teaches us anything, it shows us that yesterday is our “crystal ball.” In the now famous case, Pacific Gas and Electric knew that their contamination was affecting innocent people yet did nothing but try to convince people that the poison was good for them.

If TVA knew of leaks years before this disaster and sat and waited, is “oops” we’re sorry” going to be enough?

The infrastructure handling coal fly ash in the U.S. is old and needs to be replaced. Can we worry about the cost of replacing the old with the new when health and safety and the environment depends on it? We can see that contamination moves through air, land and water. Can we sit back and wait for communities to get sick when we can prevent it now?

Science usually lags behind the law. But in this case, law lags behind science because coal fly ash handling is not regulated as it should be. And we have a pretty good grasp on the fact that Coal Fly Ash is not healthy.

A poison is a poison. It certainly can’t be good for you. Does anyone believe that the arsenic in the fly ash along with other heavy metals won’t leech into the groundwater? 5.4 million cubic yards of toxic compounds unleashed into the garden. We don’t need a crystal ball to see the rough road ahead.
source: Huffington Post

Also see: Brockovich: ‘Don’t be afraid to speak up’

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The cost of cleaning up TVA’s Dec. 22 catastrophic coal ash slide at its Kingston power plant in East Tennessee is estimated at more than $20 million so far, officials say.

“We’re over a million dollars a day, that’s a fairly safe answer, and we’ll probably be at that level for a while yet,” Preston Swafford, the executive vice president of TVA’s Fossil Fuel Group, said when asked for a ballpark figure Monday evening.

TVA officials have already told the Associated Press it’s likely at least some of the cost will be passed along to customers.
more – The Tennessean

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What the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is finding in fish from the area around the Kingston fly ash spill is troubling but not surprising.

One catfish had 33 grams of ash in its stomach. All the 38 fish TWRA netted had abrasions on their scales or skin. All of the fish had discolored gills. All of the fish showed signs of stress.

“What we have found so far is about what you would expect to find,” said Dan Hicks, information and education officer for TWRA’s Region III office in Crossville.

“It’s hard to predict what the long-term impact is going to be because there are a lot of unknowns. There’s no textbook biologists can turn to for an answer.”

TWRA has spent the last two days trying to net 40 fish. When netted, the fish are filleted and soft tissue samples sent to Nashville for testing.

Through Tuesday afternoon the agency had collected 38 fish and found that many of the species usually found in the area where the Clinch and Emory rivers meet are not there.

“Mike Jolley (TWRA fisheries biologist) told me typically we should find 23 species of fish here,” Hicks said. “So far we have found six.”

more – Knoxville News Sentinel

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TVA must get state OK to resume Ocoee sluicing

The Tennessee Valley Authority must get state approval before opening a sluice gate at an Ocoee River dam where last week the agency released tons of foul-smelling sediments, according to an order issued this week by Tennessee regulators.

According to the order, TVA also must submit a plan to safely remove the sediments, which likely contain contaminants like copper, iron and zinc and other pollutants, and restore the affected stretch of the river.

Another provision of the order calls for TVA to submit a management plan for the dam, designated as Ocoee Dam No. 3.

The spill left “foul-smelling, black-colored, muddy, sludge-like material” 3.5 feet deep on the river, killing fish and swamping the area near the Ocoee Whitewater Center.

TDEC already has issued to TVA a notice of violation for the Jan. 4 incident. Paul Davis, director of TDEC’s Division of Water Pollution Control, signed the order.

TVA “shall not resume sluicing operations until approval for such activity has been obtained from the division,” according to the order dated Tuesday.

The order also notes that “TVA had made no prior contact with either the division or the (National) Forest Service regarding these special operations of the Ocoee series of dams and powerhouses.”

TVA spokeswoman Barbara Martocci said workers opened the bottom sluice gate at Ocoee Dam No. 3 in anticipation of forecasted rain in light of “routine maintenance” being performed downstream at Ocoee Dam No. 2.

Martocci noted that TVA stopped sluicing operations Jan. 8, one day before TDEC issued a notice of violation. She said the agency is investigating the cause of the release and is responding to the state’s order. She also said TVA typically doesn’t alert TDEC when the gates are used.

“We use those sluice gates 30 or 40 times a year to move water for recreation.”

The dam is upstream from the sections used for whitewater sports and the spill fouled the stretch of the Ocoee developed for the 1996 Summer Olympics.

more – Knoxville News Sentinel

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TVA Coal Ash – Before and After

TVA has demonstrated a high level of deceit

Posted on Updated on

Widows Creek Spill/Leak/Rupt Watch for Snakes n’ure Part3 Aerial Photos.

Update: Monday, Jan. 12, 2009: Reports are surfacing that more than ash may be dumped into the ash holding ponds at Widows Creek. (Freethinker1963 or anyone else that has info on petroleum products or other hazardous wastes being dumped at Widows Creek , other TVA sites or the Tennessee River in Alabama or east Tennessee contact me at arklite2go@yahoo.com .) Link listing the hazardous materials found at Widows Creek TVA Ash Ponds: http://www.environmentalintegrity.org/pubs/Widows%20Creek%20v%20%20Kingston.pdf

TVA has issued a press release today that no dangerous materials were revealed in water testing. TVA Test Results indicate high levels of metals and petroleum products: http://www.tva.gov/emergency/pdf/MICROBAC%20CERTIFICATE_WC.pdf Independent testing is being accomplished. TVA has demonstrated a high level of deceit in reporting of the spills in Harriman Tn. as well as the Widows Creek, Al. spill. More from the Enviromental Integrity Project http://www.environmentalintegrity.org/pub590.cfm
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Another hole opening up in the ash pond? Notice the dark area in the corner of the ash pond. The river is the body of water slightly visible on bottom left of photo. The Waterkeepers Alliance is conducting independent testing of this hazardous waste spill.

Cenospheres moving downstream with a heavier sludge layer evident to the right of the photo.

Mr. John Moulton of TVA Public Relations denies photo’s of the ash release 17 miles downstream is evidence of the extent of the spill. Further investigation reveals TVA’s level of deceit as evidenced by these photographs and the photomicrograph below. Quote from Mr. Moulton in the Tennessean article, “TVA spokesman John Moulton said he didn’t believe that whatever Morgan had pictured in photographs was ash or gypsum from either the Kingston or Widows Creek spills. “Most of what was released into Widows Creek was water, to our knowledge it is not ash and it is not gypsum” Moulton said.” (Story link in part 2 article below.) Evidence is provided that Mr. Moulton and the TVA’s claim concerning the extent of this spill are not truthful, nor knowledgeable and is not contained. more

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Widows Creek Spill/Leak/Rupture Part2 Ash spill not contained.

It is also evident that the extent of the hazardous waste sludge and ash release is greater than what the TVA has stated. Aerial photos reveal a large subsurface sludge mass progressing downstream. Is ash still spilling into the river? It appears there are other suspicious dark areas in the ash pits, the spill is not contained and is spilling into the river at the time of the photos.
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Content of Coal Ash, EPA Link, http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/tenorm/coalandcoalash.html note that coal ash is radioactive. The real question, how much sludge and ash were spilled into Widows Creek and the Tennessee River? Gypsum was not the only waste product released in this spill. Gypsum in the scrubbers catch the real nasty pollutants from the combustion process.


The TVA has reported the spill is contained, not true as evidenced by these photos. The north shore of the river is coated with the silvery, ashen sludge for several miles down stream.

Update: TVA official denies substance in photos is part of a spill from Widows Creek. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090109/GREEN02/90109016 Apparently John Moulton of the TVA has made statements which are part of the ever growing deceit of the TVA. Here are the pictures, I have the sample, Mr. Moulton may certainly drive to the site as can anyone else. How can Mr. Moulton say it isn’t part of the spill when he hasn’t examined the sludge on the north shoreline? Does he know something else is leaking from the TVA or some other polluting source, it appears he is speaking without knowing the facts or without examining the downstream substance? more