A second TVA containment pond breach (Update #3)

Updates will be in reverse chronological order below.

Update: The Sierra Club has a press release on their site that says, among other things:

According to media reports, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management inspected all of the coal ash facilities in the state after the Kingston spill last week and pronounced them safe.

It’s too early to say whether the gypsum release at the Widows Creek plant qualifies as “toxic” as the Sierra Club claims in the release. But it’s certainly fair to say that the inspections either a) were insufficiently detailed or b) didn’t include gypsum ponds since they’re not technically “fly ash containment.”

Update: There are reports of a third spill as well, this as a result of problems repairing a TVA dam on the Ocoee River. It’s unclear from the Tennessean link above whether it’s toxic coal sludge or “just” sediments that had collected behind the dam. What is clear, however, is that there are a lot of people watching the TVA’s activities throughout the Tennessee River valley very closely right now, and when they spot something, they’re telling reporters (and often Anne Paine of the Tennessean). Continue reading

Secretary of. . . deterrence?

In an interview at Aviation Week (following a Danger Room link), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reiterated his support for the reliable replacement warhead. On the other hand, he provides room for hope. . .

. . . Gates will also be at the helm of the Pentagon during negotiations leading up to a renewal of the Start I nuclear arms reduction treaty. These discussions will take place during a tense period for U.S.-Russian relations. . . . Still, Gates says common ground can be reached on the Start negotiations. “There is a real possibility of going down below the 1,700-2,200 deployed warheads now,” Gates tells Aviation Week. Continue reading

New tax kicks old habits—Smoking cessation in New York spares no expenses

The final installment in a five-part series examining the impacts of NY State’s recent tax hike on cigarettes

by Alex Cole

photo by Talbot Eckweiler

Rick Johnson smoked a pack of Marlboro Menthol Lights each and every day for 30 years.

He spent well over $40,000 on smoking in his lifetime. That’s not including the money he spent trying to kick the habit. And it was all for an addiction he couldn’t quite understand.

“It’s very stupid to spend money on something that might kill you,” he admits.

Rick’s third craving kicks in around 5 o’clock at night. He usually has four of these “moments” throughout the day, and they’re never predictable. Continue reading