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Coal Disaster in Tennessee

2 January 2009

Here in Minnesota, we generate around 60% of our electricity by burning coal, a fairly inefficient way of producing energy.  The downside of coal is that burning it releases toxins and carbon dioxide pollution into the environment through the smokestack.  But that’s not the only byproduct of burning coal, as residents of Harriman, Tennessee are unfortunately experiencing at the moment.

Since December 22nd, more than a billion gallons of coal ash has spilled from a coal plant, destroying twelve homes, covering 300 acres and infiltrating drinking water with lead, arsenic, mercury and other toxins.

“The Kingston spill is over 40 times bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, if local news accounts are correct. This is a huge environmental disaster of epic proportions; approximately 525 million gallons of nasty black coal ash flowed into tributaries of the Tennessee River – the water supply for Chattanooga and millions of people living downstream in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.” – Carol Kimmons, arts and education director of the Sequatchie Valley Institute.

:: The Chattanoogan, Grist

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