In December 2008, an earthen dike gave way at a TVA coal plant, spilling a billion gallons of coal ash sludge in Roane County and calling the nation's fleeting attention to this federally unregulated waste. Earlier this year, 16 months after the spill, the Environmental Protection Agency announced two rules for regulating coal ash—one favored by environmentalists and another favored by industry—and said a public comment period would begin, with public hearings around the country forthcoming. In July, the EPA announced seven public hearings, but guess where there isn't one? Yep: Tennessee. The closest one to Roane County will be in Louisville, Ky.
So in lieu of being included in the real hearings, some environmental groups have gotten together to hold a "people's hearing" on the coal ash spill. At the event, an EPA official will explain the two rules for regulating ash now on the table, and testimony and comments will be presented to the EPA.
The hearing takes place on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 5:30 p.m. at Roane State Community College.