Please be Thoughtful About the TVA Ash Spill

There is a sorry trail of lax oversight, poor management, and misplaced compensation incentives from the TVA Board over many years that led to this disaster. The blame for this event can be laid squarely at the feet of TVA's corporate mindset, the anti-environment Bush Administration, his appointed TVA Directors, and also, everyone who has ever flipped a light switch into the ON position.

Hysteria may serve a radical agenda but it won't help the community directly affected by this nor will it serve the people on the ground working to make sure this thing gets all the attention it deserves and gets properly re-mediated. Nor does it serve those of us who are working hard to lay the ground work for a healthy and viable community going forward.

This is a must read, so go read it.

RELATED: Ad in today's Knoxville News Sentinel

Commentary: I know WhitesCreek Steve, and he is no apologist for TVA and he isn't going to cut anybody any slack. He also knows the community, the situation on the ground, and many of the local officials involved in the disaster recovery. He is also involved in environmental conservation work in Roane County. So, he is an independent voice worth listening to.

That said, I'm sure he would agree that if it takes celebrity environmentalists and New York lawyers to make people whole, so be it. I think he would also agree that TVA needs to do the right thing before it comes to that, and that TVA and the EPA and TDEC also need to clean up the mess and monitor it for a long time to come. And everyone would agree that reliable facts and timely information are critical for the community.

Be sure to follow WhitesCreek's hyper-local RoaneViews for the latest updates on the disaster.

Rachel's picture

Great job, WC. RoaneViews

Great job, WC. RoaneViews has done an excellent job covering the spill, so hats off.

Anonymously Nine's picture

Good grief...

Headlines that start with hyperbole (Radioactive![Not] Much Worse than Thought![Not]) are as misleading and as wrong as the local Chamber of Commerce saying "There's no problem here.

I see. Now WhitesCreek says just calm down. His post is a record length non sequitur.

It was "Much Worse than Thought". Yep, about 3.18 times worse. And that is according to TVA.

We still have no idea the extent of the ground water contamination. The range of the ground water contamination. The rate of flow of the ground water contamination. The time to clean up the disaster. And how much it will cost. So yes WhitesCreek, it is much much worse than anyone thought. At least 318% worse. But thanks so much for trying to tell us to be complacent. I seriously doubt you drink out of the tap. Kumbaya, can't we all just get along?

I really have never understood WhitesCreek. He first riffs about how this was the end of times and now he tells there is no such thing as clean coal while singing the cleanup chorus from Kumbaya. It will be okay, just don't panic. Think a positive affirmation.


This sucks on an epic scale. We all knew TVA was incompetent and now we get to pay for the cleanup and the lawsuits. But don't panic. What ever you do don't panic. Just suck it up.

But whatever you do don't criticize the daily paper. Don't criticize the Kumbaya cleanup. Don't criticize the local Mayors, the Governor, our Senators, our Representatives or the people that repeatedly warned this might happen. Don't you listen to negative Nellies.

Seems that the people most upset that the lawyers and Erin Brockovich have descended are the most ardent local environmentalist and progressives. Afraid the lawyers and Ms. Brockovich may get all the attention? Not invented here?

Don't panic. This won't hurt much. In fact, you may not notice anything for at least five or six years. Except of course for the instant loss of equity in your property.

Remember kids, TVA says, "We're good enough, we're smart enough, and doggone it people like us".

Will there be koolaid at the Erin Brockovich get together? You might want to pass on the punch bowl WhitesCreek, you have had enough.

WhitesCreek's picture

9, either you didn't read

9, either you didn't read the post or your comprehension level is on par with a retarded possum.

I defy you to back up a single word of what you say about me.

I don't tolerate bullshit, no matter whose rear end it comes out of. Or in your case, whose face it comes out of.

AS I mentioned to you personally, once awhile back, I'll put my enviro cred up against anyone's. At the same time, I understand what it takes for a community to function in a sustainable manner that supports all it's members. I understand that most of the eco-warriors that have moved into our community (with good motives, everyone of them) will move on to their next outrage and leave the people of Roane County to deal with the legacy of this disaster.

We can't let the folks, who have nothing invested in Roane County for the long run, moan and groan and wring their hands if there's really nothing in the long run to cry about. They have to stick to the truth. It's a handicap, I know, but so what. Roane County is a beautiful place. Most of it is clean and healthy and our tap water is just fine, thank you. I drink it every day that I travel to town.

The ash spill sucks, big time. But Roane County isn't ruined. We have to clean our house. Thanks for helping....Oh, wait...

R. Neal's picture

You raise some interesting

You raise some interesting points, #9. Too bad they are lost in being such a dick.

Justin's picture

I don't think Mikey really

I don't think Mikey really gives a rats ass about TVA or the ash spill. He just wants another reason to rail against the News Sentinel. He's still bitter they banned him (although he is back another another #9 nom de guerre).

Rachel's picture

He just wants another reason

He just wants another reason to rail against the News Sentinel.

No, he just sees another excuse to rail, period.

Also, the title of Whitescreek's post was "Please be thoughtful about the TVA ash spill." Mike doesn't do thoughtful.

Anonymously Nine's picture

thoughtful or pretend it will be okay?

"Please be thoughtful about the TVA ash spill."

We the ratepayers all get to pay for this. For decades. If the government, the media, the agencies and TVA had done their job we would not be here now.

There are three more ponds on the Kingston property and many more ponds at other coal plants run by TVA. It is flooding this very moment.

Do you trust TVA? Why should you?

And Rach, you should disclaim on every post you worked there at TVA for 14 years and your spouse works there now.


WhitesCreek's picture

Ok, 9...

First about the cost...The real cost of coal energy was not internalized from the beginning. Now the ratepayers of TVA get to make up for not paying what coal energy actually costs by covering the cost of an environmental disaster. Thanks to all of you!

Kingston and Harriman have born the environmental coast of providing one million people with electricity, even though there are only 55,000 or so of us. We are owed.

The other three ponds are low level sediment ponds which were normally dredged to make the coal ash mountain that collapsed. I'm not afraid of them. They are 8 feet above lake level. The pond that failed was 60 feet above lake level. The power it dissipated is unimaginable by those who haven't stood alongside the devastation.

Do I trust TVA? TVA the corporation?...Hell no, in the sense of conscience that would govern a human being.

Do I trust TVA "the people", who I talk to several times a day who keep me up on what's going on with the clean up (although you can't really call it that just yet), I trust them with my life. I coached their children. They trusted me.

There's not a single one who would tell me something that isn't true. We have our code.

You wouldn't understand that, 9, but others here do.

R. Neal's picture

Do you trust TVA? Answering

Do you trust TVA?

Answering for myself, no. They are just like any other government bureaucracy. They need oversight. They (mostly management) just do what they are tasked, and/or allowed, to do or not do.

Rachel's picture

you should disclaim on every

you should disclaim on every post you worked there at TVA for 14 years and your spouse works there now.

That, of course, disqualifies us from thoughtfulness.

Hey guys - for the record (and the very few of you who don't already know it) - Mike Mitchell (who won't even sign his name) wants you to know that I WORKED FOR TVA FOR 14 YEARS. Mike knows that because I posted it here.

I worked in information services. I designed IS systems/databases for the enviromental group, and did a stint in corporate IS policy. In all that time, I think I was in a fossil plant once, on some kind of tour. Never even did any IS support for power.

Mike also wants you to know that MY SPOUSE WORKS FOR TVA. He knows that because I posted it here. My spouse is a water quality engineer, in whatever the hell they call the environmental group now. He works on awful stuff like stream bank restoration. Also completely unrelated to fossil power.

Now, Mike, suppose you give us your resume so we can look at your credentials as a media critic, management guru, and environmental expert.

P.S. Do I trust TVA? It depends on what you mean by TVA. Do I trust what comes out of their collective corporate mouth? Nah. Do I trust some of the individuals who work there, who I know to be competent, hardworking, and honest. Yeah, I do.

P.P.S. And while you're railing, how about railing at the fact that EPA decided flyash doesn't need to be regulated as a hazardous waste. And that they promised 8 years ago to come up with some regulations for disposing of it and never did.

R. Neal's picture

the fact that EPA decided

the fact that EPA decided flyash doesn't need to be regulated as a hazardous waste. And that they promised 8 years ago to come up with some regulations for disposing of it and never did.

Another point that is frequently overlooked, and one that gives TVA a big out on consequences.

DISCLAIMER: I worked for TVA in the Finance Division's separate/private IS division for three months in 1982/83, and would have been retired with a good pension by now. In retrospect, I'm glad that didn't work out. They have my fingerprints on file. If asked, I would refer them to the middle one.

Rachel's picture

Another point that is

Another point that is frequently overlooked, and one that gives TVA a big out on consequences.

Yup. The sad truth is, that on most environmental matters, big corporations (TVA included) are going to do only as much as they're required to do.

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