Cousteau Short Film Highlights Kingston Coal Ash Spill

Guest Blog | November 8, 2010 | Coal, Energy Policy

acousteauThe Cousteau family, ardent advocates for ocean health and preservation, have extended their reach to fresh water – and lucky for us, to the grave issue of coal ash waste.  Alexandra Cousteau, the granddaughter of famous French ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau, just released a short film about the fall-out of the Kingston coal ash disaster of 2008.  Yet again, TVA officials are on camera downplaying the severity of the hazardous chemicals found in coal ash (it’s like dirt, but different).  Since they don’t seem willing to articulate the truth about dirty coal ash and what it does to our waterways, we need YOU to have your voice heard.

November 19, 2010 will be the final day to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as they move into full consideration of how to regulate this waste residual from burning coal for our electricity.  We need EPA to regulate coal ash waste under Subtitle C of RCRA (the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) as this is the strongest means by which we would see the hazardous components of coal ash controlled.  See our sample comment letter and watch Alexandra Cousteau’s video below.

Please share this video with your family and friends!

“Nearly two years after the TVA Kingston Coal Ash Spill, many have already forgotten its impacts on the community and the environment and yet the TVA coal ash spill is still the largest industrial spill in American history. It was six times larger in volume than the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In September 2010 Alexandra Cousteau and Expedition Blue Planet visited Kingston, Tennessee to find out exactly what the toll of “clean coal” is on water quality, water ecosystems and the communities that lie fractured by the pollution of their waterways.”

Please take a few minutes today and send a message to EPA supporting Subtitle C.  Here is a sample letter to EPA, or click here for an auto-comment form from the Sierra Club.  Please do this by November 19 when the comment period closes!

The docket number for this coal ash rule is: EPA-HQ-RCRA-2009-0640.   Submit your comments via the internet at and follow the instructions.

Dear Administrator Jackson:

I strongly support EPA’s decision to regulate coal ash and I am writing to add my voice to the loud chorus in support of the Subtitle C option. As a resident of the Southeast, I know all too well about the dangers of coal ash. Residents of East Tennessee are only now starting to recover from the terrible spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Kingston coal plant. There is no way to guarantee the American people that a disaster like this will never happen again, but if coal combustion wastes are listed as “special wastes” under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, we will be much better protected from a future disaster.

Because of all the toxic chemicals in coal ash, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, chromium and others, it is completely unreasonable to treat coal ash the same way as household garbage. Coal ash is hazardous and it should be regulated that way. So please select the Subtitle C option and regulate coal ash as a special hazardous waste.


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