The Coal Ash Spill of Harriman, Tennessee

When we hear the name Exxon Valdez, we automatically think back to the dramatic pictures of the environmental devastation that occurred in 1989 on Prince William Sound, Alaska. This moment in time has been etched in our memories because it was one of the world’s largest oil spills. “The vessel spilled 10.8 million U.S. gallons (about 40 million litres) of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into the sea, and the oil eventually covered 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean.[2]” The media covered it from beginning to end and kept us informed of the clean up progress.

Now 20 year’s later we have had another environmental disaster that makes the Prince William Sound tragedy look like child’s play. December 22, 2008 over1.1 billion gallons of contaminated fly ash coal ash spilled onto the lands of Harriman, TN. 300+ acre area was strewn with black and brown muck that has not only destroyed the families in it’s wake, but has contaminated the water sources with arsenic and other heavy metals, like beryllium and lead. If we think the Exxon Valdez had far reaching effects to our every day life, then you must realize that the coal ash spill of Harriman, Tennessee will be something that our grandchildren will still be concerned about.

I am posting a few links that I feel need to be passed around because you really have to search for coverage. It’s not covered on television, it’s not in the newspapers, and you have to search for it on the Internet.


US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Senator Barbara Boxer’s Statement

Senator James M. Inhofe‘s statement

The Knoxville News