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An interesting moment came when Stahl challenged TVA's senior environmental VP, Anda Ray, on the assertion that coal ash was about as safe as soil.
"The things that are in the coal ash are the same things that are naturally occurring in soil and rock," Ray said, "except in two areas and that is higher levels of arsenic and thalium."
Yes, exactly the same except for concentrations of two highly toxic substances. So not the same at all, really.
Then Stahl asked if she would swim in the river today, to which she replied "Yes, I would." Later realizing the EPA has warned people against swimming there, Ray retracted the statement.
All in all it was a good report, using Kingston as a way to jump off into the larger issue of coal ash and whether it should be regulated by the EPA. Lisa Jackson, the head of the EPA, said in the interview there will be a decision on whether to do so by December.
If the EPA does reclassify coal ash, it could mean even higher rates for Valley customers -- as the coal lobbyist in the piece noted, regulation does not come cheap. But neither does environmental catastrophe.