Rally, Film Screening, and Press Conference

George Cavros | October 26, 2010 | Press Releases

Held to Focus Attention On EPA’s Last Public Hearing on Toxic Coal Ash

Hundreds expected to turn out and speak for hazardous regulationKnoxville, Tennessee (0ctober 26, 2010) – On Wednesday, October 27th, the Environmental Protection Agency will hold the last in a series of national public hearings on new proposed coal ash waste regulations. Residents from across the region plan to testify before the EPA about the harmful effects of coal ash on their health, their neighborhoods and communities. Knoxville was nearly passed up for a public hearing but EPA added the location as a last site after an outpouring of discontent from citizens, advocates, and even Sen. Lamar Alexander, all of whom feel that TVA’s Kingston coal ash disaster makes East Tennessee the most logical place in the country for a hearing. WHAT: Concerned citizens and activists, health and disaster experts, faith leaders and others will testify throughout the day, hold a press conference and a film screening of “Perry County”, all followed by a rally to call on EPA to adopt strong federal protections for coal ash waste. WHEN: Wednesday, October 27th

  • 9:00 am, Kingston Photo Vigil /EPA hearing begins – Volunteers will gather around the hotel entrances with enlarged photos of the TVA Kingston Disaster while EPA begins to receive public comment. The comment time will run through the last speaker potentially going as late as 11pm.
  • 12:00 noon, Press Conference held by coal ash activists featuring various perspectives on the concerns surrounding coal waste.
  • Lunch Available for Press after the press conference, through film screening.
  • 1:00 pm, Film Screening of “Perry County” – a short film about the community in Alabama receiving the coal ash waste being removed from the Kingston spill site. Perry County residents and activists will introduce the film and answer questions after.
  • 5:30 pm, Rally: Coal Ash Is Scary – large inflatable coal plant (great media visuals) hosted by UTK’s Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (SPEAK) and United Mountain Defense.


  • EPA Public Hearing will be held all day at the Knoxville Marriott, 500 Hill Ave. SE. Hearing rooms are in the Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia Ballrooms (please check at front desk of Marriott for day-of changes);
  • Press Conference, Lunch, “Perry County” Film Screening will all be held in the Andrew Jackson Room of the Knoxville Marriott;
  • Coal Ash is Scary: Rally, Knoxville Marriott surface parking lot.

WHO:• EPA Public Hearing featured speakers will include:

  • Numerous victims of the Kingston disaster;
  • Students from University of Tennessee, Baylor, Tennessee Tech, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Alabama, Warren Wilson and other regional schools;
  • Dr. Gregory Button from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a disaster expert currently studying the the Kingston ash pond failure;
  • Public health experts including Drs. Steven Gilbert, Maureen McCure and John Rachow;
  • Residents of Perry County, Alabama, where the Tennessee Valley Authority is shipping much of the dredged coal ash from the Kingston disaster – speakers include John Allan Clark, Editor of the Perry County Herald and Barbara Evans, Organizing Coordinator with Wildlaw;
  • Several ministers and others who represent the voice of faith communities;
  • Experts in environmental justice who can speak to the disproportionate impact that unregulated coal ash has on poor and minority communities.

• Press Conference featuring:

  • Dr. Steven Gilbert, a toxicologist from University of Washington who will speak to the health implications of coal ash;
  • Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, who helped initiate the coal ash rulemaking process when in early 2009 he travelled to Washington, DC to testify before Congress with five victims of the Kingston disaster;
  • J. Henry Fair, noted photographer, who has extensively documented damages from unregulated coal ash;
  • John Allan Clark, Editor, Perry County Herald;
  • Cathie Bird, Co-Chair of the Statewide Organizing for Community empowerment (SOCM) strip-mine committee.

• Film Screening: “Perry County”: John Allan Clark and Barbara Evans will be available for questions following the film. ** VISUALS: GREAT VISUALS INCLUDING:

  • Photographs of coal ash waste sites will be available at hotel entrances in the morning, in the Andrew Jackson Room during Press Conference and Film Screening, and outside during the Rally.
  • Rally: Giant inflatable coal plant and coal stacks, as well as People rallying in Halloween costumes.

***Events surrounding the EPA Coal Ash Public Hearing were coordinated by: Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (SPEAK), Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM), Tennessee Clean Water Network, United Mountain Defense, Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light, The Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club, Tennessee Environmental Council, Western North Carolina Alliance, Greenpeace USA, French Broad Riverkeeper, Watauga Watershed Alliance, Appalachian Voices, Tennessee Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Physicians for Social Responsibility*** # # #