Clean coal, meet harsh reality

Via DesmogBlog

If you were fooled by the multimillion dollar “clean coal” PR marketing campaign take a look at this video footage of a massive flood of toxic coal sludge from a dam that burst at a local coal company’s processing plant in Tennessee yesterday.

The spill covered as many as 400 acres of land with toxic ash as high as six feet deep.

You can go here to see some local TV news coverage. Here’s some raw footage of the spill zone:

According to local news reports millions of yards of ashy toxic sludge broke through a dike at TVA’s Kingston coal-fired plant Monday, covering hundreds of acres, knocking one home off its foundation. Coal ash can carry toxic substances that include mercury, arsenic and lead, according to a federal study.

Greenpeace is calling today for there to be a criminal investigation into the matter. “Every facility like this is supposed to have a spill contingency plan to prevent this kind of disaster,” said Rick Hind, Greenpeace Legislative
Director. “The authorities need to get to the bottom of what went wrong and hold the responsible parties accountable.”

“This spill shows that coal can never be ‘clean,'” said Kate Smolski, Senior Legislative Coordinator for Greenpeace. “If the Exxon Valdez was a symbol of pollution 20 years ago, the Tennessee Coal Spill of 2008 is the symbol of it today.”

Maybe this would be better footage for an anti-clean-coal ad campaign.

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12 Responses to Clean coal, meet harsh reality

  1. Mr.Mom says:

    Can you say Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm……mercury.

  2. bob Wright says:

    Hey! Accidents happen, Dude!

    I just read Hansen’s pdf of his AGU Bjerknes lecture slides. P18 has the ocean fast response model prediction of global temp to 2020. Add in an El Nino and a healthy solar cycle 24, and 1998 and 2007 will be the good old days.

    Scary stuff. If GW is hysteria, then skeptics can be redfined as future GW hysterics.

  3. paulm says:

    The act now link above is failing – here is the source link

  4. Rick says:

    wow – I thought all the coal garbage ended up in the atmosphere – no idea they had sludge lakes behind dikes.

  5. Matt says:

    I just want to know why 400 acres of toxic ash covered land isn’t being covered by CNN, etc, when a water main burst yesterday DOMINATED.

  6. Joe says:

    I hear it just made CNN, although it didn’t get the same coverage of the water may burst.

  7. Matt says:

    Well, at least that’s better than nothing. I haven’t been watching today!

  8. Joe can you please set the example you established a few weeks ago? … It’s “killer coal” from now on. Even your educated readers who already agree with you should have the constant mental association of “coal” with “killer.” After all, surely some of your readers are still relying on the black stuff for their electricity.

  9. Does anybody have email addresses for NBC, ABC & CBS? My computer is too old to use their internet emailers. I saw it on NBC only so far. Add uranium and thorium to that list of heavy metal poisons in coal, RJ. The complete list is: URANIUM, ARSENIC, LEAD, MERCURY, Antimony, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Selenium, Barium, Fluorine, Silver, Beryllium, Iron, Sulfur, Boron, Titanium, Cadmium, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Vanadium, Chlorine, Aluminum, Chromium, Molybdenum and Zinc.
    “Modern electrostatic precipitator plants are capable of operating at greater than 99.5% collection efficiency but can still release 35 lb/year of uranium as just one component in almost 3 million tons of ash vented through stacks. In addition to this radiological species, all the radon in coal is released during combustion. An estimate for average Rn-222 release is about 2 Curies/year for each 1000 MWe coal fired facility15.”
    Somebody should give the complete list of heavy metal poisons in coal to everybody.

  10. No need to wait for new nukes. They come from a factory now. And the factory recycles the fuel. See: