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Part 3: TVA Has Its Say At Coal Ash Hearing

In the final witness panel, Tom Kilgore, president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, said that they have posted information on their website.

But as mentioned earlier by Harriman resident Sarah McCoin, many of the residents simply don’t have ready access to the internet and to TVA’s website. Much like if a tree falls in the forest one wonders if it makes a sound, if there is information available on health impacts that doesn’t actually get to the residents who are most affected, does it really serve to protect?

Stan Meiburg, EPA Region 4 acting administrator, said air quality has not exceeded national ambient air quality standards, the barometer of such things. However, considering Dr. Vengosh's comments in the first panel (see the previous post) the rains have played a part in keeping coal ash particulates down. As the rains dry up, particulate matter will definitely become a factor.

Paul Sloan, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, was the third witness in the panel, offering more details about water sampling, his regrets for the spill and the good news that no one was injured.

I wonder if Ms. McCoin, who testified earlier that visitors to her house often complain of sore throats and itchy eyes, would agree that no one was injured? Sloan also remarked that monitoring for air quality is a "high priority" of TDEC. More references to posting information online...

On March 9, EPA sent an information request to TVA, and, according to Kilgore, they have responded. Johnson replied, "Apparently it has not yet been received."

The hearing was winding down, so Rep. Johnson didn't have much time to really get into the delay in TVA's response. Despite having received the information request on March 9, and having by law only 10 business days to respond, it still wasn't enough time for TVA to get the response back in time for the members of this subcommittee to review it prior to today's hearing. I guess TVA can rely on the old saying: "The check is in the mail..."

Rep. Johnson urged action to clean up the site immediately and promised another hearing soon on this important issue. Earthjustice will continue to fight to clean up dirty sites, protect against future spills such as this, and make sure that Congress, the courts and the public know about this public health threat.

In the final witness panel, Tom Kilgore, president and CEO of the Tennessee Valley Authority, said that they have posted information on their website.

But as mentioned earlier by Harriman resident Sarah McCoin, many of the residents simply don't have ready access to the internet and to TVA's website. Much like if a tree falls in the forest one wonders if it makes a sound, if there is information available on health impacts that doesn't actually get to the residents who are most affected, does it really serve to protect?

Tags:  coal, coal ash, water

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