When a Duke Energy coal ash pond spilled millions of gallons of toxic sludge into the Dan River last year, Working films responded with Coal Ash Stories. This 30 minute short film compilation explains the toxic impact of coal ash and showcases community-driven solutions. Our goal in developing the series was to enhance the efforts of organizations working to protect residents from coal ash pollution and to hold Duke Energy accountable. In the last six months, we have co-hosted 15 community screenings in partnership with 32 locally based groups across the state, increasing their reach and turning audience members into active participants on the issue.
Our neighbors in Tennessee experienced an even larger spill in 2008 when a coal ash dam failed, sending 1.1 billion gallons into the town of Kingston. The spill destroyed homes, and decimated the health of the local environment and surrounding community. Now Tennessee Valley Authority wants to store it’s coal ash in the same area, which has unsuitable topography for a landfill, and will likely result in further ground water pollution. Concerned residents and environmental groups will not let this happen without a fight. Together, we will use Coal Ash Stories to generate public comments in response to TVA’s landfill permit request.
We have partnered with Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) and the Kingston Community Advisory Group to host the first screening of Coal Ash Stories in Kingston next Thursday, February 5th.
Additional events will take place around the state this spring to build public pressure and ensure regulatory agencies do their job. According to SOCM member David Wasilko, “The messages in Coal Ash Stories resonate throughout Tennessee’s coal mining communities, particularly in Kingston where so many have been affected by the disastrous TVA spill of 2008. SOCM members in Roane County are proud to work alongside their neighbors, friends, and coworkers to ensure that a coal ash spill never happens again.”
If you’re in Kingston next Thursday, stop by the Banquet Room of the Kingston Community Center at 201 Patton Ferry Rd. The event will start at 6pm and is free and open to the public. Stay tuned to our blog and Facebook page, where we will list upcoming dates of additional screenings happening in Tennessee this spring.