In December of 2008, TVA’s Kingston Coal Plant was the site of a disaster, as unusually heavy rains washed away retaining walls and inundated the area downstream from the plant with highly toxic coal ash from “ponds” on the plant site.
Now, TVA wants to set the stage for an even more spectacular disaster. Instead of polluting the small rural community of Kingston, their new plan puts the city of Nashville at risk.
Their intentions are good–the Gallatin plant they want to “upgrade” has been listed as one of the most polluting coal plants in the country. But TVA’s solution–to spend a billion dollars installing “scrubbers” that will remove the pollution from the plant’s exhaust system–will result in tons and tons of toxic waste being stored on the banks of the Cumberland River, upstream from Nashville. All it will take is a flood like the one we had in 2010, and that coal ash, with its toxic load of mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead, and more–will be all over Nashville. Thanks, TVA!
When you take into account that about half the energy generated in the US is wasted, we would all be better off if TVA took the billion dollars they want to spend to keep on burning coal and instead used it to institute energy-saving measures–better insulation, cogeneration, and walkable communities. Then TVA could close the Gallatin plant, and probably several other coal burners besides, and we would all be better off.
TVA isn’t even willing to hold a public hearing on their plans for the Gallatin plant, but a group of Nashville activists will be. On Thursday, February 7, from 6:30 to 8:30, there will be a “Public Hearing” at the Looby Theater, 2301 Rosa Parks Boulevard, to create a push to stop TVA from keeping this coal-gobbler on line. Coal is a killer, and we will all be its victims if we keep on burning it. It’s time TVA got the message.
In a similar vein, the Governor of Nebraska has dropped his opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, “because it was rerouted around the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region.” I’ve got news, Governor Heineman–the pipeline, and the tar sands, both threaten an environmentally sensitive planet. The pipeline should not be built at all, and Canada’s remaining tar sands need to stay in the ground. There is not a moment to lose. Our situation is that precarious.
It’s another example of human shortsightedness. TVA wants to clean the local air and instead pollute the local water, continue coal mining, and destroy the planet’s ability to support complex life forms like us; Heineman says he wants to save the Sand Hills, but is willing to destroy the planet. We need to do better than that. There is no “Planet B.”
Brother Martin and the Intangibles: “Terrorists in the Heartland“