Mammoth Toxic Coal Ash Spill Near Knoxville

The largest environmental disaster of its kind has over 5 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash flooding an area of eastern Tennessee about 40 miles east of Knoxville. Although initially reported at 1.7 million cubic yards, it seems the wet coal ash , which poured out through a broken retaining wall from an unlined area, is actually more like three times that — enough to cover more than 3000 acres a foot deep in the sludge. Authorities claim the pond’s capacity was only 2.6 million cubic yards, leaving everyone wondering how they didn’t know that it was actually over twice that volume.

Tennessee Valley Authority, a Federally owned corporation put into existence in 1933 by F.D.R., owns the electric generating plant. Read more

No Matter What, We Pay The Price

When the Exxon ship lost its crude and the oil covered the Alaskan shoreline, there were suits and settlements, and many people up there wiping off rocks and trying to save animals. The spill was expensive, but the biggest price wasn’t paid by the oil companies or the government. It was paid by the ocean and its inhabitants.

When we make plastics, some of the toxic chemicals used in that manufacturing end up in the oceans. In at least one such case, the making of PVC was directly attributed to a herd of Baluga whales sloughing off their skin, at the mouth of the Hudson Bay.

Where there are paper mills, there are tons of pollutants in the foul water being dumped into the ocean. While recycling remains less than profitable, expect the paper mills to produce that much more stench and pollution. It seems Recycling is only the In Thing when it pays to do so. How many of you will pay to have your plastics and paper and tin recycled instead of having it buried in a landfill? Once again, the ocean will pay.

“So long as it’s not me, I can’t afford to pay anything more,” some will say. But it is you. It’s you, and me, and everyone else, and our kids and grandkids, the future that we’re borrowing this earth from. We ALL pay the price.

The ocean may seem strange and foreign to some. Some may even find that difference downright intimidating… and yet the ocean is a part of us, intrinsically linked to us. Its health and well-being are our own. They cannot be separated, and we dare not try to see the two as separate entities.

Paying for recycling may seem wrong, but we’re paying no matter what. The ocean pays, and the ocean is us.

“By protecting the ocean, we bring life and health to ourselves.”