[video] This is your life on coal: Before & after Harriman/TVA fly ash disaster

If you still haven’t been able to wrap yourself around what it means to have more than 1 BILLION GALLONS of coal ash full of heavy metal and chemicals flood, flow, crash and destroy everything around you, first check out these photos by NASA, from before and after:


After – the paler blue indicates the extent and location of now-polluted water:

And if those images are still too abstract, the ones in this video, that show life on the water in what was a typically gorgeous part of Appalachia in Tennessee, before and after the spill, will disabuse you still:

As I tweeted earlier today, there was a hearing on Capitol Hill regarding this disaster and supposedly the TVA chief was worked over hard.  But the state elected officials, like senior US Senator Lamar Alexander? He couldn’t be bothered – he is actually on the committee.  But he needed to attend a congressional GOP retreat instead.

Really makes you feel like the people you voted for care, huh?

4 thoughts on “[video] This is your life on coal: Before & after Harriman/TVA fly ash disaster

  1. Yes I understand, Paul – I have read some and viewed some images etc. of mountaintop removal. I read some of what Ohio Citizen has written. I agree. For me, it’s one of those things where I think: who would even THINK of blowing off the top of a mountain? I can’t wrap my head around ever thinking that that would ever be an acceptable thing to do.

  2. Strip mining is indeed horrible, but mountaintop removal takes it to a whole ‘nuther level. I mean, how does anyone think it’s okay to just grind down a mountain into a big flat spot? At least the strip mines are usually on relatively level ground and the land can be reclaimed. How do you put a mountain back?


  3. Thanks for reading and commenting, Paul.

    I actually spent time in Beverly, KY – Red Bird Mission, in the early 1980s and saw and visited the strip mines, still have the photos. I remember how absolutely silent we were when visiting, like a morgue or viewing photos of the Killing Fields – just absolutely devastation on a scale, up close, that people can’t comprehend unless they’ve been there.

    I know people want to say that there’s a trade-off, but at whose expense? With what choices?

    I don’t know – it just feels so completely wrong.

  4. Jill:

    This is just a small component of the destruction being carried out by coal mining. In southern WV, in pristine wilderness where I spent a lot of time as a kid, they’re actually grinding mountains down from the top in a method called “Mountaintop Removal.”

    The capability of earthmoving equipment has become so awesome that it is now cheaper and safer to extract coal by starting at the top of a mountain and shaving it off until they reach the coal seams (vs the traditional method of digging an underground mineshaft).

    ENTIRE MOUNTAINS ARE DISAPPEARING. Not only that but all the dirt they remove that’s not coal gets dumped into the stream valleys, creating more of these unengineered dams like the one which collapsed in Tennessee.

    Just Google “Mountaintop Removal” and you get all kinds of links, including some to satellite photos that show the scale of this devastation.

    By the way, this is one of many reasons why I am a big proponent of nuclear power…


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