2013 Clean Air Ambassador: Sarah McCoin

Tennessee
Clean Air Ambassador | Harriman, tn
Sarah McCoin
Affiliation:
Earthjustice
  • The Story
    Behind This Photo

    TO ME, THIS PHOTO MEANS:

    The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal ash disaster changed my home and my life forever. The picture I’m holding shows the massive coal ash-bergs that resulted when the retaining wall for coal waste storage broke (due to neglect) and all that toxic sludge poured into my neighborhood. Our community and local environment was practically destroyed overnight!

Tennessee:
Ambassador  Andre Gibson .
Ambassador Rev. James Billings .
z:
Ambassador Susan E.  Harley.
Ambassador Jeffrey   Louden.
Ambassador Jeanette   Johnson.
Ambassador Jane   Williams.

In the First Person:

When elected officials are politically motivated and not safety motivated, the general public and nature are the victims. It’s time for the administration and EPA to start listeni

As a resident of Swan Pond, TN, the community where America's worst coal ash disaster occurred in 2008, I have experienced personally exactly what faulty management and faulty oversight of a coal ash plant creates. Had there been tighter regulations, more corporate responsibility, richer inspection requirements and processes, the horrendous events on that December 2008 night would not have occurred.

Today, the coal ash recovery continues. Yes, Tennessee Valley Authority has worked diligently, but the people of Swan Pond still deal with the remnants of the disaster on a daily basis. There are environmental warning signs placed within a mile of my home and farm, and my relatives and friends often discuss the long term damage our lungs and bodies will experience due to the disaster. Our waterways appear clear, yet the EPA have allowed TVA to leave remaining coal ash at the bottom of the rivers as not to disturb legacy containments.

Our community has been forever changed. But it didn’t have to be this way. America and the world have the resources available to improve our environment; it is our political game of financial incentives provided by corporations who have one goal in mind—the fastest, most cost effective methods for producing a profit—which limits such quality improvements.

When elected officials are politically motivated and not safety motivated, the general public and nature are the victims. It’s time for the administration and EPA to start listening and act—instead of listening and doing nothing.

Messages of Support:

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