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Every Roane County resident and every TVA ratepayer should be shaking in fury, if not fear, at the latest report from TVA’s own watchdog.
TVA’s inspector general has concluded that the agency ignored warning after warning that its ash containment system had serious problems. It also slammed the agency for its cavalier attitudes toward fly ash filled with toxins, for an analysis of the disaster aimed at minimizing its liability and for its “tap dance” around questions aimed at pinning down TVA’s role in the Dec. 22, 2008, disaster.
We should be afraid because a gypsum containment area is being constructed in much the same conditions that have been pointed out as the cause for the devastating avalanche of toxic coal fly ash last winter.
We should be afraid because the same agencies that believed the fly ash containment was safe will be overseeing the gypsum containment area, just across the Clinch River from subdivisions in Kingston.
We should be furious that TVA continues its flimsy song-and-dance routine, contending it will “make whole” and “make things right” in this community.
And yet TVA lawyers are busy in the courts trying to exempt the agency from legal liability.
TVA officials have given no sign of hope with requests from communities to “make things right” through major contributions to schools or other programs.
Sure, the people on the Swan Pond peninsula and nearby were immediately and dramatically affected.
But this entire county has been slammed.
Google the July 10 video segment now on YouTube — CNN Uncovers America’s Worst Environmental Disaster — if you want to see the kind of devastating news being spread about our county as a result of TVA’s incompetence.
Look up the Newsweek item that counts the TVA ash avalanche No. 4 in the top 10 environmental disasters, just behind Love Canal.
The whole world really is watching.
Ours is an economy largely based around the lake, tourism and the wealthy retirees we once brought in to live here. What now?
Our local officials have been patient with TVA in its talks about “making things right.”
The time for talking is over.
Let’s take the gloves off at every level and fight back — in court and through Congress.