"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A year ago Tuesday, at about 1 a.m., a coal-ash dike ruptured at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Plant west of Knoxville, Tenn.
More than a billion gallons of coal ash -- containing an estimated 2.9 million pounds of toxic pollutants -- poured into nearby streams, fields and homes. The spill covered more than 300 acres and made three homes uninhabitable. It damaged 23 other homes, along with roads, rail lines and utilities. TVA estimates the cleanup will cost between $933 million and $1.2 billion and take two to three years to complete.
The disaster heated up a long-simmering controversy over major loopholes in the way the nation regulates the handling and disposal of millions of tons of ash generated by coal-fired power plants.
But today, as the anniversary of the Kingston mess approaches, the battle over potential new rules to protect coalfield communities and the environment from the dangers of toxic coal ash is just getting started."