Coal-power catastrophe

Enviros call ash spill the Exxon Valdez of the coal industry

A giant spill of coal ash in Tennessee is spurring other states to look into their holding facilities.

Environmentalists who’ve witnessed the catastrophe near the rural town of Kingston are calling it the Exxon Valdez of the coal industry and are urging federal officials to tighten regulations on the waste product, reported National Public Radio.

A breach of an earthen dike at the Tennessee Valley Authority plant is responsible for the spill, but an investigation into the cause is pending. What’s certain is that more than a billion gallons of sludge have swallowed hundreds of acres surrounding the landfill and spilled into a nearby river.

Coal ash is known to contain arsenic and other toxins, so nearby residents aren’t able to drink well water. At least one lawsuit has been filed against the TVA, a $165 million suit by a real-estate developer.