Front Porch Blog

A Cup of Arsenic in the Morning Does a Body…Good?

In what some folks would call the “no-duh” factor, the TVA has found contaminated groundwater near some of their coal fired power plant coal ash sites.

Following the 2008 coal ash disaster at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant in Harriman, Tenn., the topic of toxicity in coal ash has raged hotter than a coal-stoked furnace.

According to an article by, the TVA Inspector General has found that contaminants in groundwater near the Gallatin plant in Sumner County (50 miles northwest of Nashville) are at “health-hazard levels.”

Pollutants above drinking water standards near the plant include beryllium, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, selenium and vanadium.

Contamination was also found at a coal-fired power plant in Memphis–a plant conveniently nestled directly above the aquifer that supplies drinking water to the city of Memphis and nearby areas.

Prior to the Kingston disaster–which dumped 1.1 billion gallons of coal fly ash into the Clinch and Emory rivers–coal ash was regarded as harmless to humans, namely because the coal companies claimed it was.

Thanks to independent testing and verification by labs, universities, environmental groups and the U.S. government at the Harriman site, we now know that coal fly ash contains toxic minerals such as arsenic, selenium and other delicious minerals that you wouldn’t want to drink with your morning orange juice.

The EPA’s attempts to treat coal ash as a toxic substance have been repeatedly attacked by the current Congress. A bill to strip the agency’s ability to oversee coal ash passed in the Energy and Commerce Committee, and currently awaits a floor vote.

The only Tennessee representative on the committee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) voted for the bill.

The real question is, would Blackburn be willing to use that water–now that we know what is in it–to brew her morning coffee?





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  1. mickeywhite on July 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Marsha Blackburn Voted FOR:
    Omnibus Appropriations, Special Education, Global AIDS Initiative, Job Training, Unemployment Benefits, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations, Agriculture Appropriations, FY2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations, U.S.-Singapore Trade, U.S.-Chile Trade, Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan, Flood Insurance Reauthorization , Prescription Drug Benefit, Child Nutrition Programs, Surface Transportation, Job Training and Worker Services, Agriculture Appropriations, Foreign Aid, Debt Limit Increase, Fiscal 2005 Omnibus Appropriations, Vocational/Technical Training, Supplemental Appropriations, UN “Reforms.” Patriot Act Reauthorization, CAFTA, Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations, Head Start Funding, Line-item Rescission, Oman Trade Agreement, Military Tribunals, Electronic Surveillance, Head Start Funding, COPS Funding, Funding the REAL ID Act (National ID), Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, Thought Crimes “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, Peru Free Trade Agreement, Economic Stimulus, Farm Bill (Veto Override), Warrantless Searches, Employee Verification Program, Body Imaging Screening, Patriot Act extension.

    Marsha Blackburn Voted AGAINST:
    Ban on UN Contributions, eliminate Millennium Challenge Account, WTO Withdrawal, UN Dues Decrease, Defunding the NAIS, Iran Military Operations defunding Iraq Troop Withdrawal, congress authorization of Iran Military Operations, Withdrawing U.S. Soldiers from Afghanistan.

    Marsha Blackburn is my Congressman.
    See her “blatantly unconstitutional” votes at :

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