The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: tva coal ash

Thursday, 22 September 2022 12:23

Enviros to TVA: Retire the fossil-fuel pacifier

Cumberland FPTVA’s Cumberland Fossil Plant near Clarksville is the subject of a suit filed by environmental groups, including Appalachian Voices and Southern Environmental Law Center.  Tennessee Valley Authority 

SELC, others file suit in hopes of dissuading TVA from future fossil options

This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.

CLARKSVILLE — On behalf of the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club and Appalachian Voices, the Southern Environmental Law Center asked TVA to prepare a supplemental environmental statement to address concerns with TVA’s draft environmental impact statement, which details the agency’s plans to retire the Cumberland Fossil Plant.

The Cumberland Fossil Plant, about 22 miles southwest of Clarksville, is TVA’s largest coal-fired power station and was built between 1968 and 1973. TVA plans to retire each unit of the two-unit, coal-fired steam-generation plant separately: one unit no later than 2030, and the second unit no later than 2033. But the plant will need to be replaced, and TVA is currently considering three alternatives to fossil fuel, including natural gas and solar energy, according to its draft EIS.

(Tennessee Valley Authority already plans to close down the Knoxville-area Bull Run fossil plant in Claxton next year).

Published in News

methane leaksBloomberg reports that methane leaks from the natural gas sector may be far worse than estimated by the EPA. While replacing coal-fired power plants with natural gas ones reduces air pollution it may not help at all with climate change because methane is 30 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2.  Image source: Kayrros SAS

Report: Many utilities are not reducing carbon emissions despite public assurances to the contrary

KNOXVILLE — Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and experience rapid and deep reductions to avoid a potentially catastrophic future, according to a new analysis by air-quality and climate advocates. Emissions must reach net zero by the early 2050s to limit warming to 1.5 degrees (C) in order to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.

Many utilities and municipalities have acknowledged this dynamic, but the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy s fourth annual “Tracking Decarbonization in the Southeast" report highlights that current utility resource plans are not in line with this overarching target. Obstacles to getting utilities on track that are discussed in our report include: increasing reliance on fossil gas, underutilizing energy efficiency, and placing limitations on popular technologies such as rooftop solar. There’s still a lot of work to do before any Southeast utility is on track to decarbonize.

Published in News

SatterfieldJamiephotocredittwitter

Compass: Unknown if Jamie Satterfield’s exit tied to impassioned, personal pleas she made to Anderson County Commission

Jamie Satterfield, a journalist known for her aggressive coverage of the deadly TVA coal slurry spill in 2008 in Kingston and other environmental problems related to coal ash and its storage, is departing the Knoxville News Sentinel at the end of the month, Compass reported in its daily newsletter.

The News Sentinel declined comment on her departure; she did too — until Sept. 2.

Satterfield’s byline was always a comfort to see because you knew you were reading something written by someone who not only knew how to tell a good story, but how to do it with intelligence, talent, passion, accuracy and grace.

In addition to her award-winning environmental reporting, mainly focused recently on the dangers of coal ash after at least 50 workers perished after coal-spill remediation efforts in Kingston, she was a keen crime reporter who could tell a great, if ultimately sad, story.

Satterfield is a native of Gatlinburg.

The News Sentinel’s highest-profile reporter will depart the paper Sept. 1, Compass reported.

Her departure follows a heart-felt address to the Anderson County Operations Committee during an August meeting in which she implored them to shut down a playground where Duke University researchers concluded there was coal ash toxicity. The exchange was captured on YouTube, according to Compass.

“During the meeting, Satterfield went to the podium and identified herself as a News Sentinel representative. She touched on the toxins in coal ash, criticized TVA, talked about the diseases afflicting the former workers and called on the committee to take action,” Compass reported.
“‘You all can protect children, starting today, and you can hold TVA accountable,’ she said, choking back tears. Twice during her nearly eight-minute address, she said she would probably be fired for speaking out.”

It was an apparent breach of journalistic etiquette and ethics for a seasoned, traditional news reporter who is expected to be a dispassionate observer.

Published in Feedbag

IMG 4207Alex Pulsipher holds a sign demanding that TVA transition to 100 percent renewable energy at a rally Wednesday in Market Square in Knoxville. Courtesy Amy Rawe/Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

Varied environmental groups offer unified plea for clean energy, coal ash management and accountability from TVA

It was people power generating energy at Market Square in downtown Knoxville on Wednesday.

A coalition of civic and environmental groups and their representatives met at the bottom of the two Tennessee Valley Authority towers urging the public utility to reopen meetings to public comment; swear off all fossil fuels by 2030; and carefully tend to the needs of those affected by coal ash and devise a plan to contain it for the safety of current and future generations.

Published in Air

Looking for something to do after work? Want to be part of a rising movement urging TVA to move away from fossil fuels in the face of the global climate crisis? Support transparency from the largest public utility in the country?

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Appalachian Voices, Center for Biological Diversity, the Sunrise Movement, Sierra Club, and other local organizations are hosting a clean-energy rally from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today (Aug. 18) on Market Square near TVA’s headquarters in downtown Knoxville.

TVA hasn’t had a public listening session in over a year, according to rally organizers. Rally participants will demand that TVA: 

-Restore public listening and input sessions;

-Commit to 100 percent clean energy by 2030;

-Not build new fossil gas plants;

-Protect coal ash workers, and; 

-Dispose of coal ash properly with public health and safety as the utmost priority. 

The rally will feature songs from local musicians, a reading of demands for TVA, speakers discussing pressing issues for TVA and our region, and a short march around Market Square. 

Masks and social distancing are encouraged. For those unable to attend in person, a virtual option is available at Tennessee Valley Energy Democracy Movement Facebook page.

 

 

Published in Event Archive

News Sentinel: Toxic ash fill at Claxton ball field uncapped and unsealed

Tennessee Valley Authority used a mix of coal ash and dirt for fill during construction of a playing field that was later leased to Anderson County and the local Optimist Club for public use, reported Jamie Satterfield of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

She had earlier reported an adjacent playground was contaminated by coal ash byproducts, including heavy metals and multiple other toxins. The contaminants likely originated from coal-ash piles at the nearby Bull Run Fossil Plant. 

Anderson County and the Claxton Optimist Club operate the playground and sports fields, which are still owned by TVA.

The playground was built about 20 years ago, during which time coal ash disposal was lightly regulated. The disposal of coal ash from facilities such as Bull Run coal plant, which will be closed by 2023, has proven a major environmental problem and challenge for utilities across the country.

Published in Feedbag

News Sentinel: Playground near TVA’s Bull Run Fossil Plant contaminated by coal ash

Testing by independent Duke University researchers indicates a playground in the Claxton community contains dangerous levels of coal-ash byproducts.

The playground is near the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Bull Run steam plant, which has historically used vast amounts of coal to produce electricity and stored the resultant coal ash in huge landfills near the facility on Melton Hill reservoir near Oak Ridge. The plant will be decommissioned within two years, but questions remain about how TVA will handle the tons of remnant coal ash produced over the lifetime of the plant.

Duke University researchers sampled soil from the site, and results showed high levels of heavy metals and other toxins typically present in coal ash.

TVA maintains its testing has not detected harmful levels of contaminants in the area, but the News Sentinel’s Jamie Satterfield, who was been relentless in her investigations of TVA coal-ash policies and the disastrous Kingston coal slurry spill of 2008, noted that “There are no human health guidelines, however, for substances like coal ash that combine many toxins or radioactive metals.”

Published in Feedbag