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It Was the Worst Industrial Disaster In US History, and We Learned Nothing

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the par-for-the-course dept.

Earth 290

superboj writes "Forget Deepwater Horizon or Three Mile Island: The biggest industrial disaster in American history actually happened in 2008, when more than a billion gallons of coal sludge ran through the small town of Kingston, Tennessee. This story details how, five years later, nothing has been done to stop it happening again, thanks to energy industry lobbying, federal inaction, and secrecy imposed on Congress. 'It estimated that 140,000 pounds of arsenic had spilled into the Emory River, as well as huge quantities of mercury, aluminum and selenium. In fact, the single spill in Kingston released more chromium, lead, manganese, and nickel into the environment than the entire U.S. power industry spilled in 2007. ... Kingston, though, is by far the worst coal ash disaster that the industry has ever seen: 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash, containing at least 10 known toxins, were spilled. In fact, the event ... was even bigger than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, which spewed approximately 1 million cubic yards of oil into the Gulf of Mexico."

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Not even close to the worst. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526363)

The worst industrial disaster in US history is an ongoing event and involves the release of massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526375)

Parent is a global warming scam troll! Mod parent into the Sewer as troll. BTW this post can be modded as offtopic (fair is fair).

Re:Not even close to the worst. (0, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#46526449)

Parent is a Koch drone with the brains of a rotting peanut and the moral standing of a murderous pile of excrement. Mod him -10 "fucktard"

Re:Not even close to the worst. (3, Funny)

Adriax (746043) | about 6 months ago | (#46526767)

Parent is an illegal alien.
He has to be. He's advertising the fact he's a martian right in his name and no country on earth has laws to allow martians to immigrate.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1, Offtopic)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 6 months ago | (#46527079)

Yeah, but he's Mighty too, so maybe we should pretend his papers are in order... just in case.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527069)

Parent is a hate-filled lickspittle libtard behaving as per his training. Mod as such.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (-1, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#46527125)

Parent is fucking retarded he believes the universe must bend to his sociopathic ideology. Mod -10 "evil halfwit"

Re:Not even close to the worst. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526379)

That's stupid. You're stupid.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (0, Offtopic)

drsmack1 (698392) | about 6 months ago | (#46526455)

Is this a bot? And by bot, I mean a complete idiot spewing kool-aid with no more self-awareness than an inanimate object.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526575)

Exactly! We need to all stop exhaling immediately! You first

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46526731)

We don't dig up fossil fuels out of the ground and eat them.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (5, Informative)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 6 months ago | (#46526755)

We don't dig up fossil fuels out of the ground and eat them.

What do you think saccharin is made of?

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46526809)

Isn't aspartame a petroleum product as well?

Re:Not even close to the worst. (2)

bunratty (545641) | about 6 months ago | (#46527133)

Right, the nitpicking. Let me rephrase... 99.9% of the food we eat does not come from fossil fuels we dug up out of the ground. The carbon dioxide we exhale comes almost exclusively from carbon that is already part of the carbon cycle, so the problem with carbon dioxide emissions is not animals breathing.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 months ago | (#46527237)

Where do you think we get fertilizers that are used to grow the food we dig out of the ground?
Not to mention that we dig food out of the ground with fossil fuel powered equipment.

Our modern agricultural system is not possible without petroleum inputs.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (3, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46526775)

We don't dig up fossil fuels out of the ground and eat them.

If only we did. That would lower fossil CO2 consumption compared to most of the types of food we actually eat.

Alas, coal is not very tasty and the human body cannot do much useful with it.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (0)

necro81 (917438) | about 6 months ago | (#46527155)

Our food system would actually be more efficient and less polluting if we could. Depending on the crop, there's more energy value in the fossil fuel inputs (fertilizer, diesel, pesticides, transportation) than there is in the resulting food.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (4, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | about 6 months ago | (#46526615)

The shills (and uneducated) might have downmodded you but I'm happy to spend some karma on supporting your statement.

And I work in the energy industry...

Re:Not even close to the worst. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526905)

Global warming is going to kill us all!!! Just like the hole in the ozone did in the 80's, Global Cooling did in the 70's, and overpopulation did in the 60's. As long as the grant money keeps flowing and some environmental scientist has to justify his job, something will ALWAYS be about to kill us all!!!!

Re:Not even close to the worst. (3, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46526655)

bullshit, more lives saved and extended and given modern life of luxury through the use of fossil fuels than any other technological action of man

Re:Not even close to the worst. (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46526739)

Yes, but the point you guys need to come to terms with is that fossil fuels aren't the only source of energy production and transport, and it's becoming apparent that the harm outweighs the minor increases in fiscal cost of many other technologies.

We do indeed have those that think that somehow things were better before industry, but those aren't the people you should be discussing the future with. Just like I shouldn't be discussing energy plans with people who think oil is a divinely provided renewable resource.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527073)

Just like I shouldn't be discussing energy plans with people who think oil is a divinely provided renewable resource.

I don't see anyone saying that. But I have yet to see a viable replacement for fossil fuels.

Should we be working on replacements? Absolutely. Does that mean we can stop using coal and oil tomorrow (as some seem to think, including the article author and first post)? Solar and wind aren't even close, probably never will be in most parts of the world. Hydro works as long as you can keep building dams, nuke will work eventually if people can get over their irrational fear of it.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46527149)

Actual US congressmen have said that, sitting on the energy committee have said it. Look up Joe Barton. Terrifying.

Nukes+solar+hydro+wind is absolutely viable to replace fossil fuels in 20ish years if we started systemic migration today, and there's been more than enough examination of this point by now.

Alternate energy source (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527307)

How about we lock all you green nuts up in pods and use you to generate energy?

We could make you a virtual paradise full of idiots and call it ... on the tip of my tongue... oh yeah.. California.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (3, Insightful)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 6 months ago | (#46526759)

Nothing that nuclear power can't fix with a much lower impact.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (4, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46526821)

i agree, however we're not smart enough like other nations to be researching or building the reactors that can't melt down, make no long -term waste (as in decay in decades rather than millenia), and that can even burn our enormous cache of cooling pond and cask "spent fuel"

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about 6 months ago | (#46527161)

i agree, however we're not smart enough like other nations to be researching or building the reactors that can't melt down, make no long -term waste (as in decay in decades rather than millenia), and that can even burn our enormous cache of cooling pond and cask "spent fuel"

Exactly how would that put money into the pockets of the Big Oil corporate sponsors?

(in case it's not obvious, I agree with you completely)

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | about 6 months ago | (#46527239)

We do research, but we don't build anything with the results of our research. Nuclear Reactors that can't meltdown are old hat at the US research level.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46526957)

That's a perfectly fine argument, but getting rid of the fossil fuels to mitigate the deaths resulting from respiratory problems, coal mining operations, climate change etc. sounds like an even better idea to me.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527141)

Get rid of fossil fuels and more people will die due to lack of affordable energy and the economic collapse it would cause than from air pollution.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527091)

Yeah, humanity was better off burning wood and whale oil. The average live expectancy was was also in the mid 30's. Get rid of fossil fuels, take nuclear energy off the table and then we will return to those times. Sorry. Wind and solar will never do.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (-1, Flamebait)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 6 months ago | (#46527095)

ah fucking men. Lioterlaly, American conservatives are en route to murdering more people than Hitler Stalin Pol Pot and Mao put together. Oh, but they don't believe it. So that makes it alright. Because if I walk into a crowded burning theater of 7 billion people and shout "no fire" it's OK... because I really believe it. The way Manson really believed it was his destiny to start an American race war by slaughtering innocent people and making it look like black people did it. That's OK, because, you know he really believed it. Like Jim Jones really believed it.

This THIS is what you get when you tell people that the surest way to evaluate reality is to look inside your own heart and pray for guidance. Because, you know, what's in your own "heart" is not a bunch of projections of your own egotism, fears and greedy impulses, oh hell no, if you're pure, that's where God lives and it's God's voice that's talking to you, not all that unconscious stuff left over from evolution, which isn't real anyways.

Re:Not even close to the worst. (1)

LocalH (28506) | about 6 months ago | (#46527267)

As opposed to the release of massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere from animals exhaling?

Nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526367)

Nothin indeed.

There real reason ... (1, Insightful)

drsmack1 (698392) | about 6 months ago | (#46526399)

Is that the media decided not to cover it because it was not on either coast and they didn't have a clear way to blame it on the Bush administration.

Re:There real reason ... (5, Insightful)

BullInChina (3376331) | about 6 months ago | (#46526425)

Just remember, every vote against nuclear is a vote FOR coal.

Re:There real reason ... (5, Insightful)

gewalker (57809) | about 6 months ago | (#46526805)

I've read a number of different estimates for deaths related to coal pollution, 10-15K annually in the US, 150-300K globally. Even if those estimates are 10 time actual, it is hard to beat coal pollution as the top killer for industrial activity. Disasters like collapses of mines, dams, coal ash pond get a lot more attention.

Turning off every coal plant today would be a much bigger disaster -- people freezing, starving, diseases, etc. would be far worse, but hey, I am all for replacing coal with safer nukes, etc. All major systems will results in accidents and deaths, it is kind of the way it is. Even today, $/kwh from coal is generally cheaper than the viable alternatives. Arguably, a new generation of nuclear power could be cheaper than coal (fuel costs on the order of 15-25% of coal), but this is certainly not guaranteed.

You still need transportation fuels (hard to replace jet planes with battery operated or nuclear).,

Re:There real reason ... (1)

houghi (78078) | about 6 months ago | (#46526827)

And the other way around as well. So you vote for either one industry or the other.

Where are the votes in favor of the people are going? You know, A government of the people, by the people,

Re:There real reason ... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46526849)

They're going in a bin labeled "pointless rhetoric that doesn't actually begin to address real-world problems." Both major parties are really good at sucking votes out of that bin, and the remaining sludge in it is made of people who think cynical non-participation makes them somehow morally superior.

Re:There real reason ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526833)

Or FOR natural gas...

Net negative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526869)

I have seen articles that the net energy output of nuclear power is negative. That is, by the time you add in all the costs of mining, refining, transporting, storing the fuel, you have spent more energy than you got from the fuel.

Re:Net negative? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 6 months ago | (#46527311)

I have read that successively diluting a solution by 100 times will make the medical effects stronger. I've read that a perpetual motion machine has been verified but is kept under wraps by big oil. But fortunately I have more than two brain cells and can spot the bullshit.

Re:There real reason ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526963)

What about the Amish vote, you insensitive clod!

Re:There real reason ... (5, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 6 months ago | (#46526539)

So much easier for you to blame someone else (the media...) than to accept responsibility for you own apathy.

We had the huge recession, and the media was more interested in Obama's victory.

More importantly, the coal industry spent a lot of money and legal effort to prevent the media from getting photos.

I heard about it from the main stream media and remember being offended by how the industry was restricting coverage.

If you didn't, then perhaps you should accept responsibility for watching crappy media instead of blaming the media for being crappy.

That is, not all media is as incompetent as the ones you watch.

Re:There real reason ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526651)

How exactly could the coal industry prevent coverage? Do they have their own police force? Did they stop reporters from flying in?

You are so completely full of shit that it's coming out of your mouth.

NOTHING will stop a *motivated* media from getting at a story. They were criminally not interested in this story for the exact reasons I outlined.

Re:There real reason ... (2)

rnswebx (473058) | about 6 months ago | (#46526733)

There are many stories that are "gotten" but never actually make it to mass media. I agree with the sentiment that a motivated reporter will usually be able to get a story, but that doesn't mean it gets printed or played on air. Most media outlets have giant corporations as their parent, and often those corporations are heavily influenced by lobbyists and others who are actively working to keep negative news from the press.

Re:There real reason ... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526811)

NOTHING will stop a *motivated* media from getting at a story.

I have to agree. There was no wall-to-wall 24x7 on this. It was in the news cycle for about 48 hours. That missing plane in Malysia has gotten a lot more coverage.

It's a TVA operation. That's the federal government for those that don't know. No Evil Korporats to hate on and plenty of Congress critters to apply pressure on the media corporates where needed.

Where are the sob stories from survivers? Where are the PBS NOVA multi-part "investigations" with the awkward questions of TVA officials? Where was the TVA show trial? Deepwater Horizon produced all of that and more.

One benefit of nationalizing stuff is that once it's the Government's fault the Left foregoes its usual hysteria. War appears to be the sole exception to that.

Re:There real reason ... (1)

228e2 (934443) | about 6 months ago | (#46527043)

I do remember some bs about not allowing an d helicopters in the vicinity because of health reasons and very little coverage.

It is a shame that some things are swept under the rug when they should be magnified appropriately. But when people want to silence an issue, there is ALWAYS a price it can be paid to be achieved . . . .

Re:There real reason ... (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 6 months ago | (#46526893)

I heard about it from the main stream media and remember being offended by how the industry was restricting coverage.

The media needs to stop "being offended" and start being journalists.

Re:There real reason ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526975)

We had the huge recession, and the media was more interested in Obama's victory. More importantly, the coal industry spent a lot of money and legal effort to prevent the media from getting photos.

No, it wasn't covered so much because it was in a hillbilly backwater, no one died, and because ash sludge doesn't make for good TV.

Re:There real reason ... (2)

cusco (717999) | about 6 months ago | (#46526631)

Editors and publishers have learned the hard way that you don't fuck with the energy companies unless you have a battalion of lawyers at your disposal. You especially don't fuck with Big Coal in the middle of coal country.

As far as the Bush Madministration, the link is trivially easy to make. Shrub reduced inspections, regulations, reporting, safety rules and liability levels for the entire range of extractive industries. Obama's only blame is not restoring them.

Re:There real reason ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526683)

So, that's why we see anti-fracking stories daily? Because the media doesn't dare to mess with the energy companies? You are completely full of shit.

Obama was in office when this happened, the similarities to Katrina motivated them to not look too deeply into the response by the federal government.

Honestly the whole line of the point you are making is completely pathetic.

Re:There real reason ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526645)

Kingston is a TVA operation. So yeah, no evil private corporation to hate on.... so no press.

A coin-operated congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526411)

doesn't act to protect the middle and lower classes because they can't pay the same bribes as people like the Kochs. And to actually regulate the banks or any large industry is to cut off major sources of funds. Fortunately, people are getting wise to this despicable relationship ... but they remain fearful because as individuals they are very susceptable to retaliation in many ways. Also, any approach that has any chance of effectively returning our "system" to the peoples control is now illegal for one reason or another. Even so, someone has put forth a viable plan to address this issue, Google "A plan to establish democracy in the United States" if you are interested.

Where have I heard about spills like this before? (5, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | about 6 months ago | (#46526447)

Oh yeah .. this year .. huge coal-ash spill at a retired Duke Energy coal plant [newsobserver.com]

Re:Where have I heard about spills like this befor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526677)

I like how the headline claims that the spill is still a problem, but then the article itself states that the only concern is above-regulation aluminum levels that are also found upstream of the spill.

As for the Slashdot story? Clicked the link, and regretted it. Horrible layout, bad artistic choices, I can't even read it to decide whether I should take the headline seriously. At first it looked like it was designed to work on a touch screen, but the 'front page' styling was repeated for every flippin' paragraph!

Re:Where have I heard about spills like this befor (1)

Megane (129182) | about 6 months ago | (#46526881)

The only good thing I have to say about the formatting on medium.com is that it isn't the popular yet horrible "85/85", where the body text is set to 85% size / 85% gray. Many sites I have to zoom the text at least one step to be readable, but this site I have to zoom down at least three steps.

Re:Where have I heard about spills like this befor (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 6 months ago | (#46526889)

It's smaller. What's more annoying(as a local...ish) is that the state department of environmental regulation has been gutted by a governor who actually owns a lot of stock in Duke Energy. And even after the big news about this, it turns out that Duke actually still has pumps designed to pump coal ash directly from their pools into the cape fear river "for maintenance", in direct violation of the clean water act.

They excused it by saying "we didn't get any recommendation against it by the state environmental agency".

Molasses Molasses, sticky sticky goo (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 6 months ago | (#46526487)

Don't forget the Great Molasses Disaster(s) [wikipedia.org] which release tons of toxic sulfur into the rivers. These are an on-going problem over the years [nationalgeographic.com] and we have learned "Nothin".

Bhopal? (0)

Unicorn Setu (622244) | about 6 months ago | (#46526493)

What about Bhopal? Thousands of people dead from an accident at a Union Carbide plant?

Re:Bhopal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526531)

That wasn't a "US" disaster.

What did we learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526507)

WE LEARNED NOTHIN!

Re:What did we learn? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46526877)

Well, certainly not proper spelling and punctuation. Its not nothin, its nuthin'.

These dang Slashdot editors don't know a dang thing about proper English. Sheeit!

We've learned nothing? (2)

mendax (114116) | about 6 months ago | (#46526513)

Oh, we've learned something. We've learned that this is something the government doesn't want to deal with. How much sludge does a company have to pour into a river before the government not only takes notice but does something about it?

Re:We've learned nothing? (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46526681)

It's not a matter of "how much" it's a matter of "Who lives down river"

I'm going to hazard a guess that in this case it was poor people.

Re:We've learned nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527039)

When it comes to the multi-billionaires who own everything, everyone downriver is poor. They have theirs and no one is going to get in the way of them getting even more! They have enough money to move to the moon or wherever else they might like so none of this really affects them, does it?

what "company"? It's a government operated plant (3, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 6 months ago | (#46526725)

What are you talking about? It was a government operated power plant, run by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Re:We've learned nothing? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46526861)

We also learned that the CEO of BP felt really, really bad about it... [youtube.com] not bad enough to, you know, fix the problem, or make right with the tens of thousands of people his company harmed, but really, really bad nonetheless... [youtube.com]

Re:We've learned nothing? (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 6 months ago | (#46527059)

And hippies complain about nuclear waste. Last time I checked, no nuclear waste ever caused an accident worthy of a single-paragraph story, much less something like this...

Re:We've learned nothing? (3, Informative)

Tailhook (98486) | about 6 months ago | (#46527265)

How much sludge does a company have to pour into a river before the government not only takes notice but does something about it?

TVA is wholly owned by the federal government. The federally owned earthen embankments were known to be leaking by the federally funded TVA employees for years before the slurry that the federal government was responsible for containing broke lose.

Sort of makes sense it happened in 2008 (1)

Burz (138833) | about 6 months ago | (#46526541)

Its a good reflection of Finance sector dealings and the "controversy" about global warming trumpeted by the media (it was a large component of the media's product-output at the time, needlessly fuelling a pattern of denial and argument for its own sake).

Don't forget Duke Energy (5, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 6 months ago | (#46526555)

Their recent coal ash spill coated 70 MILES of the Dan River, but thanks to them buying off the legislature and a Governor who happened to have worked for Duke Energy, they may escape any liability for the cleanup, leaving it up to the taxpayers to foot the bill.

Re:Don't forget Duke Energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526711)

This is why I am long on the energy sector stocks. These guys are bribing anyone who gets in their way and discredits anyone else. I am up ~1000 in the past year. There will be a minor bump in price when the hammer falls (if it ever does) and then it will be business as usual.

Scummy? Sure is. But know what I am going to make some money off these bastards...

Re:Don't forget Duke Energy (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46526773)

last I checked everyone there benefits from the electriicty Duke makes, of course utilities get special treatment. any financial punishment of Duke would just raise your electric bill, they are called "Utilities" for a reason

Re:Don't forget Duke Energy (-1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46526813)

any financial punishment of Duke would just raise your electric bill, they are called "Utilities" for a reason

And this is why utilities either have to be privatized, or separated from the infrastructure, which should be privatized.

er whoops I mean nationalized (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 6 months ago | (#46526883)

er whoops I mean nationalized

You know, the opposite of what I wrote.

More coffee please

Re:Don't forget Duke Energy (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 6 months ago | (#46526983)

leaving it up to the taxpayers to foot the bill.

In November, those taxpayers will overwhelmingly vote to reelect the same legislators and Governor- because the alternative would be voting for a Democrat and their Socialist job-killing environmental regulations.

TVA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526559)

TVA knew the earthen embankments were leaking. They'd known about it for years. TVA is a federally owned corporation created by Congress.

mercury? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526617)

you mean the liquid found in thermometer that is poisonous? wow.

Simple answer to all of this: Energy Policy (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 months ago | (#46526649)

America should not just be pushing Alternative Energy, but should also push for Nukes and Coal to be converted to Methane( sell that overseas).
All of this should be via a TOTAL ENERGY POLICY.

It's Funny... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526661)

how when these "accidents" occur in the southern US, nothing really is ever done. If they happen in the NE or NW, it's do or die to render aid and cleanup. As someone who, unfortunately, lives in the south, I notice this. No one gave a hoot in hell about Katrina, no one really batted an eye with the BP oil spill and nothing is ever really done about the various other hurricanes, tornados.

When I get my financial situation more or less right, it's the NE for me again.

Nope (5, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#46526667)

The worst industrial disaster in US history occurred in 1947 when a series of explosions killed 581 people, including all but one member of the Texas City fire department.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

The initial blast was also one of the largest non-nuclear explosion in US history.

Re:Nope (4, Interesting)

iggymanz (596061) | about 6 months ago | (#46526741)

indeed, and even if we confined ourselves to worst coal slurry accidents in 1972 there were 125 killed, over 1000 injured and 4000 left homeless in the so-called Buffalo Creek Flood in Logan County, West Virginia

Re:Nope (1)

hey! (33014) | about 6 months ago | (#46527179)

Yay! Texas wins again!

Deepwater Horizon non sequitur (1, Troll)

BobMcD (601576) | about 6 months ago | (#46526723)

In fact, the event that woke Sarah McCoin that nightâ"the deluge that moved houses and ripped trees from the groundâ"was even bigger than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, which spewed approximately 1 million cubic yards of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil that 'spilled' into the gulf in 2010 was a naturally occurring substance, as evidenced by how easily the environment dealt with it. And it genuinely makes sense to imagine that sub-surface events are exposing oil to the ocean on a regular basis, but we don't know about it because it's all very normal.

No, a better comparison would be to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org] which spews ash everywhere on a somewhat regular basis. Ash = ash.

Unless of course you're trying to make less of an environmental argument and more of an anti-fossil fuels one. The latter is the only thing Deepwater and these coal ash events have in common.

Re:Deepwater Horizon non sequitur (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 6 months ago | (#46526807)

The oil that 'spilled' into the gulf in 2010 was a naturally occurring substance, as evidenced by how easily the environment dealt with it.

I think a lot of Gulf folks in the seafood industry would have something to say about "how easily the environment dealt with it".

They're still digging oil out of the beaches in Alaska and the Exxon-Valdez incident was a long time ago now.

Re:Deepwater Horizon non sequitur (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527259)

The problem in the Gulf was use of dispersants. When Exxon-Valdez happened, we refused to use dispersants because of the long-term damage it would do to the fisheries. Also, Alaska is way colder than the Gulf of Mexico, and the spill in Prince William Sound occurred much closer to shore, allowing more oil to collect on the beaches. And while I don't know anything about the ecology of Price William Sound, I do know that more oil naturally seeps into Gulf waters every year than the spill released, so there was an establish microbial community ready and waiting to metabolize the oil.

I'm not trying to downplay the Gulf spill. It was a tragedy. But we made it worse after the fact because dispersants prevented it from evaporating and also reduced its bioavailability. And the economic effects weren't nearly as dire as once feared. A handful of journalists have done follow-ups and the consensus is that environmental and economic recovery has happened much faster than expected, in the face of our bumbling cleanup attempts.

Also, oil doesn't have all the heavy metals that coal ash does.

Re:Deepwater Horizon non sequitur (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46526895)

In fact, the event that woke Sarah McCoin that nightâ"the deluge that moved houses and ripped trees from the groundâ"was even bigger than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, which spewed approximately 1 million cubic yards of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil that 'spilled' into the gulf in 2010 was a naturally occurring substance, as evidenced by how easily the environment dealt with it.

Mercury is a naturally occurring substance - are you really trying to argue that dumping 100,000,000 cubic yards of mercury into the Gulf would have no negative environmental effect?

Re:Deepwater Horizon non sequitur (5, Interesting)

ColaMan (37550) | about 6 months ago | (#46526991)

Ash = ash.
Coal ash is different from volcanic ash.

I used to do ash analysis on coal samples - coal ash is pushing 95% silica and alumina. The rest of the elemental analysis are trace elements, which can be made to sound super-scary when you scale up the quantities to thousands of tons. OMG! There's 100,000 pounds of this KILLER element released! Yes, but it's spread out evenly though 10 million tons of slurry over 100 square miles. You could probably strip-mine the top 5 feet of the same area in a city and find higher concentrations.

The biggest problem is not all the toxic waste, it's all the bloody inert sludge that's everywhere.

Hardly the worst by any measure (1)

selectspec (74651) | about 6 months ago | (#46526787)

Nobody died you fool.

Johnstown? (5, Informative)

Stargoat (658863) | about 6 months ago | (#46526803)

What about Johnstown, when a dam built by a railroad company collapsed, killing well over 2000 people. Yes, at the time the dam belonged to a club run by industrialists as a hunting and fishing preserve, but it was still an industrial accident.

Oh shuit up you just hate frreedom (4, Insightful)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about 6 months ago | (#46526891)

You just hate freedom. You want to take away my right to pollute the atmosphere so badly that it causes massive socio-political upheaval s around the world completely re-ordering the geopolitical landscape , uniting our enemies and making new ones under a unified belief that THIS is what America did to us, unleashing waves of suicide terrorism both abroad and domestically, all fueled by the deaths of hundreds of millions of innocent people, and unified by the theme that "this (desertification, devastating ocean rise unsurvivable heat waves, crop failures and finally, the death of large ocean life as the acidification takes out the lowest levels of the oceanic food pyramid, causing all above to collapse - THIS is what America did to us".

You just hate America and you're against freedom. That's all.

Re:Oh shuit up you just hate frreedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527063)

So lick my butt, and suck on my balls,
America, FUCK YEAH!

Re:Oh shuit up you just hate frreedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527199)

Put your money where your mouth is. Please stop excreting your "polluting" carbon dioxide by putting a bullet in your head. You can get lead free bullets, so don't let that be an excuse.

71 years, Hanford is still a radiactive cesspool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526919)

The DOE's cleanup job is a joke here. I refuse to support any new nuclear power plant in the U.S. until it can be proven that the mess that results can be cleaned up.

Unreadable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46526977)

What an obnoxious article layout. I can't even be bothered to read it.

Individual events vs. entire industries (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 6 months ago | (#46527025)

Is the biggest event really important, or is it more important to look at entire industries? Has coal in Appalachia been better or worse than gold mining in California? The gold mining contaminated many bodies of water with mercury, and fish are still unsafe because of it. How many streams and lakes in Tennessee have warnings like, "pregnant women should eat no more than one of these fish per month"?

Fingers In Ears, Eyes Closed (1)

turgid (580780) | about 6 months ago | (#46527207)

And just like Global Warming, if you ignore it, there are no consequences!

Hooray for human greed and hubris.

Libertarianism is the answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46527229)

Never worry. Market forces will fix this problem... somehow...

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