Thursday, January 8, 2009

LiveBlogging TVA Hearings

Stephen Smith, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, is now giving his opening remarks.

Smith makes a great point that TVA and the community really dodged a bullet. If the sludge pond dam had broken during the summer when the area was filled with outdoor recreationists, hundreds of lives could have been lost.

“It’s outrageous that landfills that hold our household garbage are more tightly regulated” than toxic sludge ponds. Smith calls for the orderly phase-out of wet sludge ponds.

Smith basically tells Sen. Inhofe to stuff it. I missed that part of the hearing but I assume Inhofe alleged all sorts of conflicts of interest by Smith since his group is considering a lawsuit. I wonder if Inhofe cared to mention the $157,300 in coal lobby monies he received in the last Congress alone?

I'm guessing ... not.


William "Howie" Rose, Director of Emergency Management Services for Roane County, is now speaking. Rose is pointing out several flaws in TVA's emergency response plan that appear to be unique to the Kingston coal plant. He says that TVA does not utilize the same national incident management system that other emergency management agencies do, the Kingston plant does not use the same emergency perparedness program as is used at TVA's nuclear and hydro plants, and TVA also did not conduct and make available to the local community a risk assessment analysis at the plant which would have helped with emergency response.

Smith is pointing out that we still don’t really know what’s in the “muck,” it’s 60 years worth of coal ash waste that flooded the surrounding community.

Sen. Boxer: We cannot forget: all of the stuff that is in this muck is so dangerous that we passed laws to get it out of our air. And now it’s in our water.


Sen. Alexander: "This is a real environmental tragedy, period. But I don’t want to obscure some of the things that TVA has been doing lately that I applaud. ..."

Way to throw the softballs, Sen. Alexander! No one could have predicted that. Oh, wait. Never mind.


Interesting information from Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-ORE): The dike’s containment walls were made of ash, not clay, and trees were removed that weakened the dam.

Now Sen. Carper of Delaware is asking the witnesses to introduce any family members they may have attending the hearings. Someone give me a brick so I can bash my head in with it. What an idiotic time-waster.

Now he's quoting a Roberta Flack song. Carper is the chairman of the subcommittee that has oversight over TVA. Count me completely unimpressed. What a lightweight.


Hearing is adjourned. What have we learned children? Sens. Alexander and Carper {heart} TVA. Alexander is also trying to salvage the "clean coal" slogan as it rapidly gets washed down the toilet. Barbara Boxer is concerned about children and coves. Inhofe is still an ass. The only one who impressed me was Jeff Merkley of Oregon and he's the new kid on the block.

Folks, we're screwed.