Massive Coal Ash Spill in Tennessee puts the lie to Clean Coal

When it comes to PR spindoctoring there is always one surefire cure - reality.

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.”


So that’s what clean coal looks like. Obviously this gives a new meaning to the word ‘clean’. Except it’s not clean as normally understood and meant by normal usage of the word.

Must be meant ironically.

As bad as this was it is nothing compared to the disaster in 1966 in the village of Aberfan, Wales.

A coal tip liquified and poured downhill right over a school killing 144 people including 116 children and 5 teachers.

Even though problems had been identified nothing was done and no-one was found culpable.

I hate it when people say “That’s nothing….” but…. wait ‘till we see what the tar sands tailing ponds (yes, and SAGD) are doing.

There’s Nothing Like Clean Coal - That’s for sure! Just read the description and see the satellite photos at:

The sooner the epithet ‘clean’ when applied to coal is killed-off, the better. If it’s so clean and safe, perhaps the proponents of ‘clean’ coal should eat a spoonful of fly ash, every time they mention clean coal. 

The ACCCE hasn’t wasted a moment in beaming their message into the homes of Americans. Here’s their 60-second, buzzword-loaded nationwide ad.