Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Protester marches outside TVA’s Chattanooga headquarters


Standing outside the TVA headquarters on Market Street, Sheila Brock of Chattanooga is sandwiched between two florescent-yellow posterboards which discuss the dangers of fly ash.

“I don’t protest, I’m just a mom. This is not like what I do,” said Mrs. Brock, the lone protester at TVA Tuesday. “But I’m just angry and people need to wake up. This is their environment.”

Last week, one billion gallons of fly ash sludge spilled through a ruptured earthen dam near Kingston, Tenn. Mrs. Brock said she was moved to action when she heard a politician on TV Tuesday morning declare the area safe.

“It killed the fish! It killed the fish!” she exclaimed. “If it killed the fish, what’s it going to do to you?”

TVA officials said Tuesday that the most recent results of water sampling near the ash release area indicate that the concentrations of sampled contaminants either met or were below detection levels established by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to protect fish and aquatic life.

Mrs. Brock said she raised her family in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, in which fly ash from coal stacks of the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. was known to take paint off cars. When neighbors started falling ill from cancer and other diseases, she said the family moved to South Florida to escape the environmental contaminants.

“Honestly, I don’t understand why there’s not more people out here,” Mrs. Brock said, “why they’re not outraged that they’re lying to them. They’re not telling them how dangerous this is, what an environmental travesty this is.”

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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