SACE Serves Legal Notices for Future Suit Against

Guest Blog | December 30, 2008 | Press Releases

Gary A. Davis & Associates
P.O. Box 649
61 North Andrews Avenue
Hot Springs, NC 28743
Tel.: 828-622-0044
Fax: 828-622-7610 website:

Knoxville, Tenn. (Tuesday, December 30) – Today Southern Alliance for Clean Energy served notice to the Tennessee Valley Authority of its intent to bring legal action against TVA under the federal Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for the health and environmental impacts caused by the coal ash release.

“This is a tragic situation that has brought devastating environmental damage and carries with it potential for serious human health impacts,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director for the alliance. “With this action we are signaling our intent to use all legal means to assure that TVA is required to fully clean this mess up and take responsible actions to ensure that it never happens again.”

The Clean Water Act citizen suit notice focuses on the illegal discharge of millions of gallons of coal ash slurry into the Emory and Clinch Rivers and the resulting degradation of the quality of the waters for designated uses, such as public water supply, fish and aquatic life, and recreation. The Clean Water Act requires a sixty-day notice before a citizen can file suit against a polluter in federal court.

The RCRA citizen suit notice is based on the “imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment” that may have been created by the coal ash release into the surrounding community and the two rivers. Exposure to the toxic metals in coal ash, including cancer-causing arsenic, is the chief concern, and the ninety-day notice required by RCRA states that the lawsuit will seek a judicial order requiring full cleanup of the coal ash and other measures to protect the health of the community and the environment.

The notices were sent on behalf of SACE by environmental attorney Gary Davis.“We truly hope that TVA, EPA and the State act aggressively in cleaning up this massive pollution and addressing the serious health concerns in an open public process with full community participation,” Davis said. “These citizen suit notices do not commit SACE to filing suit, but we will do so if we do not see this type of serious response from the agencies within the time periods of the notices.”

SACE urges citizens to consult a heavy metal fact sheets and additional information found at to learn more about the potential consequences of this disaster.

“We have been frustrated by TVA’s public statements minimizing the seriousness of this massive release and withholding information,” said Dr. Smith. “These actions have lead to a loss of confidence in the utility’s decisions, which currently have the potential to risk human health. If legal action is the means necessary to ensure that TVA is open and transparent about this disaster moving forward, then we will use it.”