Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lead TV News Story of TVA's Coal Ash Dust Storm (United Mountain Defense coverage)

Thank you Channel 6 for braving the cold weather to get the story.

6 News Anchor/Reporter

HARRIMAN (WATE) -- Is the winter wind stirring up ash at the TVA spill site in Roane County? The non-profit environmental group United Mountain Defense, who has been on the scene since the beginning, says yes and they say they have the video to prove it.

"Obviously the coal fly ash is drying out and it's getting kicked up into the wind," says volunteer staff member Matt Landon.

"It was blowing up at least 30 to 40 feet off the surface of the coal ash area and it was at least 70 to 80 feet wide," he says.

That's why Landon wears a respirator every time he's near the site.

"We're filtering out fine particulates. We're filtering out lead and asbestos and paint fumes," he says.

He's worried about everyone else who's breathing the air without protection.

"We're working with the Tennessee Coal Ash Survivors Network in order to get local residents trained in how to identify when there are dust storms occurring and being trained in order to use the air monitoring equipment," Landon says.

TVA Spokesman Gil Francis tells us he heard rumors about this, so TVA crews onsite went to check it out and didn't see anything. He adds that everything at the site is frozen and so what the environmental workers saw must have been fog.

We also heard from Roane County Executive Mike Farmer on this issue. He is very concerned that the cold weather is drying out the ash and making it airborne. He says his experts have warned that TVA needs to re-wet the ash to stop this from happening as they promised the county they would.

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