Stephen Smith to Testify, Call for Remake of TVA

Guest Blog | January 8, 2009 | Press Releases

Knoxville, Tenn. (Thursday, January 8) – Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, will testify before a Senate committee today, providing information about the Tennessee Valley Authority’s failure to react adequately following the recent coal ash spill, Dec. 22. Dr. Smith plans to call on elected officials to classify coal ash as a hazardous waste, and ask for heightened accountability for TVA.

“I have witnessed the betrayal that members of this community feel; TVA has unleashed devastation on the very watershed and communities it was created to protect,” said Dr. Smith. “Given the evidence of short term cuts taken by the TVA to fix the warning signs of this disaster, it is clear that this was a man-made disaster.”

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will conduct the “oversight hearing on the TVA and the Recent Major Coal Ash Spill” at 10 a.m. today. Accompanied by five members of the Harriman, Tenn. community, Dr. Smith will also focus on the national implications of this disaster.

“In 2000, EPA shirked its responsibility by not regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste, and today, EPA can not fully account for the hundreds of millions of pounds of coal ash generated in our country every year,” said Dr. Smith.

In calling for regulating coal ash, Dr. Smith will recommend the following actions during today’s testimony:
– The phase-out of all toxic coal ash wet storage
– The immediate inspection and monitoring of all toxic coal ash storage and disposal units
– Federal regulation of all toxic coal ash storage and disposal by 2010

Dr. Smith plans to call on members of the community and elected leaders to remake the Tennessee Valley Authority, creating a more responsible and progressive utility for ratepayers.

“TVA was born out of crippling economic times. As we find ourselves again in difficult times, this is an opportunity to remake TVA as an affective utility in the 21st Century,” said Dr. Smith. “TVA must be a living laboratory modeling a clean energy future heavily invested in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart-grid technology.”