State Senator Tim Burchett was moving forward new legislation demanding protections for people and the environment from TVA regarding TVA's coal ash storage -- calling them out as bozos and arrogant for their inept handling of the massive coal ash spill in Roane County in December 2008. Video and audio of the committee hearings where Rep. Burchett spoke on SB 1559 is here. Comments from Burchett begin in the last 10 minutes of the meeting.
Sadly,Sen. Ken Yeager, who represents Harriman, moved to delay the bill, saying that the mayors in the affected communities might have some suggestions for elements to add to the legislation. Of course, Sen. Yeager has no idea what those suggestions might be. He would have actually needed to have spoken with the gentlemen in question. At best what he wanted was to delay action on the legislation.
At RoaneViews this week, Sen. Yeager is cited for his failures to stand for the best interests of his constituents and his desire to protect coal companies instead.
Meanwhile, Senator Boxer is pushing a resolution demanding TVA actually fulfill the leadership role given them by Congress and for the EPA to start doing their job and start checking the safety of the nation's hundreds of coal ash dump sites and draft new rules to contain these toxic disasters in waiting. Again, RoaneViews has the details.
R. Neal posts that over 100 environmental agencies have signed a letter sent to the EPA likewise demanding changes in coal ash storage:
"The disaster at TVA's Kingston plant dramatized the need for federal standards for safe disposal of these wastes, which are virtually unregulated by the EPA. After eight years of counterproductive backpedaling, we are confident that you will chart a new, responsible course for the Agency by supporting the adoption of standards, whether reflected in legislation or new regulations, that reflect the gravity of the situation and are guided by a consistent set of principles."
Kudos to those elected officials who have been taking action to eliminate and reduce the dangers of these toxic dumps -- but where are Tennessee's federal officials? Sympathetic words and promises make nice media quotes while legislation creating much needed change actually gets the job done. In fact, all of Tennessee's legislature needs to come out of hiding and serve the state by requiring TVA to be accountable for their actions.