I hated reading the following entry this morning from the blogger at Life on Swan Pond after TVA ... who lives in the midst of the massive coal sludge disaster in Roane County. The following was posted on Thursday:
"My Grandson became sick yesterday... Cough.... stuffy nose.... sneezing..... flushed..... didn't want to eat..... not wanting to nap either....
It was windy yesterday just like the day before... and the ash had to be flying.
I took him to the ER as recommended by his physician. I took the information that TVA had given me, as well as a MSDS sheet about fly ash.
He had to endure a nasal wash & suction, x-rays, monitoring of his oxygen levels. The conclusion? Irritation from the fly ash, specifically airborne.
TVA is aware, and we are currently at a local hotel. The Doctor recommended that he not go home... we not go home....avoid the area altogether.
I didn't realize how I would feel once someone told me I couldn't go home. I didn't sink in until this morning. Due to the stress and the lack of sleep... I began to meltdown. "don't go home".... keeps rolling through my head.
No, we didn't lose our home to visible damage.... but we can't go home."
I also fear more such problems will be apparent in coming days and weeks and months as TVA tries to clean up after a billion-plus gallons of toxic coal sludge washed over the surrounding land and water covering hundreds of acres.
(NOTE: To readers searching for posts here on this event - I have tagged all the related posts with "TVA spill" and if you'll click on that tag, all posts will be collected for you to read.)
I see too today that my post yesterday cheering the bloggers and others outside the mainstream press for really providing a constant supply of information on this event and the aftermath is sparking some reaction. Michael Silence takes issue with my assertion, and I'll be the first to note that his blog at the Knoxville News Sentinel has been very active on this story. However, I stand by my post and would point you to this response by R. Neal at KnoxViews, who has cataloged the online activity and how the media followed on those reports on many issues of the disaster.
And more important -- every voice is needed to tell this story.
This disaster has devastating consequences for East Tennessee. And I don't write about it for any other reason than I fear the nasty business may just get pushed away as part of a revolving news cycle. This is a life-changing event for those who live nearby and those who use the rivers in East Tennessee. Plus it has vital connections to every decision made from here on in on the fundamental operations of the coal-burning industry in America. Critical improvements must be made -- or it will happen again. The time to take action is today, not next time.