The Kingston Coal Ash Spill: December 2008 Archives
Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the SACE, and Gary Davis, attorney for the SACE, held a teleconference on two potential forthcoming legal actions against the TVA, one for violations of the Clean Water Act and one for violations of the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act.
"This is a tragic situation that has brought devastating environmental consequences," said Smith.
Smith urged TVA to "clean this mess up" and "make sure it never happens again," accusing the TVA of downplaying the situation, undermining public confidence in the utility.
"In minimizing the impact, they've said a number of things I've found offensive," he said, asking the TVA to disclose the specific contents of the ash, not just the water near the ash.
"Under the Clean Water Act, they are required to have a permit for this massive discharge," Davis said.
He explained that while TVA does have a permit for the holding pond, it "of course, does not cover the discharge of a billion gallons of coal ash."
The suits, if they are indeed filed, seek to force the utility to clean up the spill, pay for the relocation of the residents whose homes were damaged, and ensure that TVA takes action to make sure this sort of spill never happens again.
Potential civil penalties for Clean Water Act violations, Davis explained, are $32,000 a day for each day of violation.
"The best way to do this is basically to sink a legal hook in them," said Smith. "It's not to pile on or cause TVA hardship. It's basically to make sure that we use every means at our disposal."