Joe Powell raises some interesting questions re. who exactly is in charge of responding to and managing the Kingston Steam Plant sludge disaster.
There's the usual alphabet soup of agencies, but who is coordinating, and who has final regulatory and oversight authority?
Also, when I was reading the "Life on Swan Pond" blog report on yesterday's meeting, I was struck by this:
A family with an expectant mom who is 7 months pregnant asked if it was safe for her to be there... as they have the spill literally in their backyard... again.... no definitive answer. Come by the office if you have questions was often the answer given.
Come by the office? That doesn't inspire much confidence in TVA's sense of urgency about reaching out to help these people.
(A better answer would be that "we don't know, but if you have health concerns see me after the meeting and I will put you in contact with someone who can relocate you until we know more.")
It makes you wonder what kind of emergency response plans they have in place for other disasters, such as failure of a major dam or an incident at a nuclear power plant. If you've ever driven around rural Rhea Co. and seen those little blue evacuation route signs leading you away from the Watts Bar nuclear power plant you might wonder if that's the extent of their plan.
I'm sure it isn't, but the response to the Kingston incident suggests that maybe all of their emergency plans should be independently reviewed and tested.
And lastly, I'm sure Tom Kilgore is qualified (at least on paper) to run a multi-billion dollar utility, but reports of his performance at yesterday's meeting suggest he isn't the kind of details guy TVA needs out in front talking to people about solutions.
He should be commended for his willingness to personally engage some understandably concerned and angry citizens, but "come by the office" hardly seems like an acceptable response, even from where I'm sitting with no fly ash sludge in my back yard.
P.S. I agree with Katie on what a PR disaster this is turning into for TVA, and the meeting yesterday sounds like yet another example.
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