Tennessee: Kingston ash spill prompts 2nd congressional hearing

Tennessee: Kingston ash spill prompts 2nd congressional hearing

February 11th, 2009 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

TVA's Kingston, Tenn., coal ash spill is prompting a second congressional hearing this week.

The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold a legislative hearing Thursday on a proposed bill to better regulate coal ash ponds and landfills.

Allyson L. Groff, spokeswoman for the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Natural Resources, said the legislation would direct the Interior Department to set uniform design, engineering and inspection standards for coal ash impoundments such as the one that collapsed at TVA's Kingston Fossil Plant on Dec. 22.

The resulting spill dumped wet ash sludge into the Emory River and about 300 acres of residential farm land, drawing national attention to the lack of federal regulation for the disposal of coal ash - the waste remaining after coal is burned to make electricity.

Harriman, Tenn., resident Sarah McCoin, a member of the newly formed grass-roots group Tennessee Coal Ash Survivors Network, said the bill is aimed at a piece of but not the whole problem.

"The issue of keen importance is fly ash needs to be regulated at the federal level as a hazardous waste," she said.