Monday, January 5, 2009

Updates and Requests from United Mountain Defense

After this past Saturday's community meeting that United Mountain Defense helped organize in cooperation with the Swan Pond residents we learned that 100 % of the coal impacted residents are still in shock that this event happened and they are all stressed out. More than 230 Swan Pond community members attended. Here are some of the projects that United Mountain Defense has been working on for the past two weeks.

We have distributed more than 250 gallons of bottled water to coal ash impacted residents. Our volunteers have distributed over 10 documents outlining the potential dangers of coal fly ash to more than 400 hundred local residents inlcuding Fly Ash Material Saftey Data Sheets. We have been taking water and coal ash samples since day 1 of the spill. We have 4 rounds of samples in various certified labs and are awaiting the test results. We have been training local residents in our protocols so that they to can gather samples and send them to labs for testing. We have distributed the first round of water quality information that Applachain Voices and the River Keepers shared with us.

We have posted regular updates on our blog, website-, and the local progressive blog at We helped the impacted residents organize the first community meeting of the coal impacted residents of the Swan Pond community. At the request of the community we are setting up biometric sampling of residents who drank ground water or stayed in the area for a few days after the coal ash spill. We have distributed petitions for the Agency for Toxic Sustances and Disease Registry to the coal impacted residents in an effort to get an outside agency to help access and address the communities health risks and concerns.

We will continue to work with this coal impacted community to figure out what they need and want and help them continue to develop their own community group so that United Mountain Defense can take a step back. We are working hard to work ourselves out of this job.

The following is a list of requests of United Mountain Defense from the greater environmental community.

Request 1- That all the environmental groups across the country and world please use this disaster as a means to their ends. United Mountain Defense understands that this disaster can be a huge turning point for the coal industry and we have been working hard to make sure and document TVA's response. Feel free to use any of our videos and online information to help out with this work. Please credit United Mountain Defense.

Request 2- United Mountain Defense needs more funding and support from other non profits and foundations. We need funding for bottled water, personal protective equipment for residents and on the ground volunteers, biometric sampling of impacted residents, air quality monitoring, and water quality monitoring. United Mountain Defense is a tiny non profit and the only way that we have had as much success as we have had is because we have been training our volunteers for the past 5 years to deal with a situation like this one and our volunteers were willing to spend the holidays away from our families to help deal with this disaster.

Request 3- United Mountain Defense wants to work with other non profits on this disaster because we don't have a lot of funding, BUT we want to get credit for our ground work with all your future funders, in all your press releases, and with the environmental community as a whole. Please do not cut United Mountain Defense out of the history books as we helped deal with TVA's coal ash disaster of Dec 22, 2008.

Request 4- United Mountain Defense requests funding for water monitoring.

Request 5- United Mountain Defense needs a paid staff person. United Mountain Defense has done all this work with a dedicated volunteer force. Some of our volunteer force is becoming very concerned about paying the utility bills for the volunteer supported Volunteer House.

Thanks for your time and effort and let's please find a way to work together. If you have any questions, concerns, have special skills to volunteer or would like to donate money or other resources please contact United Mountain Defense at 865 689 2778.

Thanks, Matt Landon full time volunteer staff person United Mountain Defense

1 comment:

Esther Godfrey said...


I found your blog through 1 Sky and would like to help in Asheville. Perhaps we can set up a table at EarthFare one weekend to sprend information (and collect donations)? I just registered to lead a 1 Sky group in Asheville, and I'm looking for a good cause for Obama's day of action (weekend) of the 17-18th. Please let me know if I can help (or if you have any other ideas).